International internship leads to positive research mentorship in Health Sciences


An international internship at Brock will allow a visiting student from France to learn about many different kinds of cultures at the University.

An international internship at Brock will allow a visiting student from France to learn about many different kinds of cultures at the University.

Inside the lab, Marine Morfaux has worked with Brock health sciences researchers to learn about cell cultures and other cell biology research techniques. Outside the lab, she has gained insights into Canadian culture and the unique Brock experience.

Morfaux will be entering her third year of studies in the food and health program at the Institut Polytechnique Lasalle Beauvais in France. However, she will spend the next four months in the Cairn’s research labs gaining research experience as part of the University’s mentorship program, which is also a requirement for her to complete her degree.

“She is a fast learner and has shown a strong interest in research,” says Evangelia Litsa Tsiani, an associate professor in Brock’s Department of Health Sciences. “I hope her experience here at Brock will impact her future career choices towards science and research.”


From left: Jessy Moore, Marine Morfaux and Madina Naim.

“As well, I believe this is a positive experience for my graduate students Jessy Moore and Madina Naimi, who have helped her to adjust and are being provided the opportunity to act as lab supervisors thus increasing their teaching, time management and communication skills.”

According to Tsiani, the experience demonstrates how different perspectives and levels of experience can contribute to the learning process.

“So far this has been a very rewarding experience,” says Morfaux “I am living an unforgettable experience, which is allowing me to grow professionally and as an individual.”

Morfaux also acknowledged the support she’s received from Tsiani, her two graduate students, as well as Brock’s International Center and the University’s mentorship program.

“In Dr. Tsiani’s lab, I have been provided with the opportunity to be involved in research and learn valuable laboratory techniques,” Morfaux adds. “Most importantly I have found a great team who are willing to answer any question I have and share their knowledge on cell culture and general lab techniques. It is definitely an eye opening experience.”

Research in Tsiani’s lab is focused on understanding the cell signaling pathways that are involved in diseases such as diabetes and cancer and on finding new chemicals/compounds to prevent and treat these diseases. They use human cancer cells and cellular models of insulin resistance/diabetes in their search for novel compounds, some of which are found in herbal extracts.

“I believe this is a gain for all involved by participating in international activities and hosting students from abroad,” says Tsiani, who has hosted two other students from the same institution in the past.

“The Brock international office provides an excellent support and deals with all the details regarding student visa, insurance, accommodation arrangements and even transportation to and from the airport,” she says. “This is a great support for faculty members and I wish to thank all the staff at the international office for their excellent service.”

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