6 Questions With Rachel Catterall

Live 2020
6 Questions With is a new GCRC initiative focusing on the students behind the lab coats. Our trainees are the heart and soul of the centre and we want to put a face to the names by learning what they are up to both inside and outside the labs.

We spoke with Master’s student Rachel Caterall from the McCaffrey lab who was this year’s Terry Fox Team Captain. Find out about her research on Cell polarity and who her lockdown companion has been!

Research Area: Cell polarity in breast and colon cancer.

Department: Experimental Medicine

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Luke McCaffrey

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am originally from Vancouver but moved to Seattle when I was young and grew up there. I did my undergraduate studies at McGill in Biochemistry, with a minor in biotechnology, and I’m now studying in the final year of my Master’s program.

1. Why did you choose the GCRC? I was already a student at McGill and enjoying doing my undergrad here, so it made sense for me to stay. I did a research course in Dr. McCaffrey’s lab in the last semester of my undergrad and found I loved the research and people in our lab, which is why I chose to continue at the GCRC for my Master’s. What I like about the GCRC is that people are very collaborative and everyone is supportive of each other.

2. Tell me about your research in three sentences or less? We’re studying the role of polarity signaling in cancer. In other words, we look at how cell organization is involved in the initiation and progression of cancer. We’ve found we are able to reverse cancerous phenotypes by expressing a protein involved in cell organization and we want to understand how that reversal occurs.

3. What excites you most about doing research? The relevancy to cancer. We all know that everyone is affected in some way by cancer. The fact that our research is able to make an impact in the world on an issue that affects us all, is very rewarding.

4. What is your favourite thing to do outside of the lab? I’ve just recently adopted a dog! I spend most of my free time now going for walks with him around the city. His name is Jinx, he is part pug and part something else, we’re not quite sure since he came from a shelter! He is already house trained, but we are still working on teaching him basic commands!

5. What are your plans after leaving the GCRC? I’d like to stay in cancer research and possibly go into biotechnology or the industry sector before eventually coming back to academics to do a PhD. Growing up, similar to a lot of people, I wanted to be a medical doctor. I didn’t really know research was an option until I did a summer program where I was able to shadow a neurosurgeon and work in his lab. I realized I preferred the research side rather than performing surgery!

6. What will you miss the most about the GCRC? The community! Everyone is so supportive, especially all those I work with in my lab. They are all very inspiring women to be surrounded by! Our lab is close though and I’m sure we’ll keep in touch. We already have a chat group of all the students who were part of the McCaffrey lab over the past years! I’ll also miss being a part of the Goodman Cancer Student Society and helping to plan events.

 

Email: rachel.catterall@mail.mcgill.ca

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-catterall-999aa6102

6 Questions With is a new GCRC initiative focusing on the students behind the lab coats. Our trainees are the heart and soul of the centre and we want to put a face to the names by learning what they are up to both inside and outside the labs.

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