Teklab Gebregiworgis, PhD

Teklab Gebregiworgis, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow
University Health Network
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Abstract 670. Distinct biochemical properties of KRAS Q61H mutant render cancer cells resistant to SHP2 inhibitors.

What are your long-term career objectives?

I have aspired to be a scientist since my childhood, although opportunities were rare in my country, and I did not know any role models to help me along the path to becoming a scientist. Fast forward, I brought myself to Princess Margaret Cancer Research Centre, one of the top cancer research centers in the world. In the long term, I want to become an independent, established researcher in the field and contribute to tackling cancer.

Please share information about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted your research over the last two years.

I joined Professor Mitsu Ikura’s laboratory at the Princess Margaret Cancer Research Centre in 2016. By early 2020, I thought my CV was in good shape to apply for a faculty position provided my primary research project was published in a high-impact journal. At that time, the paper that I will present in the AACR meeting this April was under revision in Nature Communications. Due to the interruptions caused by the pandemic and restricted access to the lab to perform experiments to address the reviewers, the paper that was first submitted in November 2019 was not published until November 2021. The pandemic significantly affected the publication of my work. Because our institute regulates a maximum duration for a postdoc position, my mentor changed my title from postdoctoral fellow to a scientific associate. This is neither a faculty nor a staff scientist position, but essentially a senior postdoc position, which has allowed me to extend my stay in the laboratory to overcome the delays caused by COVID and wrap up my research projects. Currently, I am working on applications to secure a research faculty position. I hope that I can be considered eligible for this award under these circumstances. Your recognition will have an instrumental impact on my faculty applications, and I sincerely appreciate being selected for this award.