LAB ALUMNI - Where are they now?

Michèle Loewen, PhD. Research Officer, National Research Council (more)

Sally Yu, MSc. Deputy Director, B100 APU Downstream, Sanofi Pasteur (more)

Michèle Loewen, PhD
Research Officer, National Research Council

Hello from Michèle Loewen! I did my PhD in the lab from 1993 to 1997, studying fish antifreeze protein types I and II. However, windsurfing was another preoccupation (the 6th floor of Botterell Hall was a great vantage point to watch for wind on the lake), much to Peter’s consternation (or was it envy?)! After leaving the lab I did two PDFs, one at University of Basel (Switzerland) and a second at MIT (USA) studying bacterial rhodopsin with Nobel Laureate H G Khorana. In 2001, I joined the National Research council (NRC) in Saskatoon as a Research Officer to work on Crop Biotechnology and serve as a liaison to the Canadian Light Source.

Now my lab has moved to NRC-Ottawa in Canada’s ‘Temple of Science’ at 100 Sussex Drive where, among other topics, I work on aspects of food security like fungal disease resistance. I’m cross appointed at both Queen’s University and University of Ottawa, and relish teaching BCHM841 (grad course on proteins) with Peter, as well as eating kale in his office. I have two sons, one husband and a bigger sailboat. In 2014 I re-named my boat ‘Basic Research’, a nod to Darwin, while also protesting the government’s undermining of fundamental science and muzzling of federal researchers.

Basic Research is what I am doing when I don’t know what I am doing’ – Wernher von Braun

Sally Yu, MSc
Deputy Director, B100 APU Downstream, Sanofi Pasteur
Sally Yu_edited.jpg

Hello everyone! I did my M.Sc. in the lab from 2007 to 2009, engineering antifreeze protein and studying ice recrystallization.  Keeping a few fish in the lab along with Chris Garnham, Adam Middleton and Nelson Lin (who's my husband now :D ) was also a side hobby.  After leaving the lab, I joined Sanofi Pasteur in Toronto where I made whooping cough vaccines.  Over the next few years, I joined the management side of vaccine operation, and this role gave me the opportunity to build and lead a team in the antigen purification platform.  In 2017, I joined the new vaccine facility project (Building 100) as a Component Pertussis Downstream Lead, to support the design, construction, commissioning and qualification of the various processing equipment and facility (I've become almost half an engineer from working with the Engineering team and vendors).  Now, I have moved to a new role to complete the project phase of the new facility and transition to routine operation.  It feels great knowing that what I do everyday can help to protect everyone around me from certain infectious diseases (I made the vaccine batch that went into my son when he was 2 months old - proud mommy!).