Winning Essay for ISSCR 2014 Registration

Mohamed Gatie

Working together with ISSCR, last week I held a short essay contest for a free registration to ISSCR 2014 in Vancouver.

I received some great entries so it was a challenge to pick just one, but the winning piece was written by student Mohamed Gatie. Congratulations to Mohamed. I hope to meet him in the Vancouver at the ISSCR meeting.

Tomorrow I will publish the second place essay by Sherry Hikita, which is also a great piece of writing.


Here is Gatie’s fantastic winning essay.

“If an opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”– Milton Berle. I believe going to the ISSCR 2014 is an opportunity that does not come often. I am no scientist (at the moment), but I aspire to become one.

My interest in stem cells was ignited in my third year cell biology course and was further fueled by a special topics course on stem cell in my fourth year. In that course, we reviewed publications related to stem cells and I put together a presentation titled “CSCs: a new way to look at an old foe”. Cancer stem cells or CSCs have made me look at cancer in a different way. I started to question conventional cancer therapies and their effectiveness. The more and more I read about the topic, the more I realized how little we know and how complex it is.

I have been following your blog daily and I wait for the stem cell podcasts by Dr. Fasano and Dr. Ganat. I fell in love with this field because of the potential it has to solve many of our health-related problems we face today.

I look forward to hear the talk by Dr. John Dick. This Canadian scientist changed the field with his early discovery of CSCs markers. I am interested in what Dr. Catriona Jamieson and Dr. Qing Li have to say about stem cells and cancer.

If you recall ISSCR 2006, Dr. Shinya Yamanaka presented his finding on IPSCs, which changed the field. I would love to go and be part of this event and hopefully witness new discoveries that will change the future. Lastly, I have never been to Vancouver, and this is an excellent opportunity to go learn and see the beautiful city. I hope I built a door with this short essay.

Mohamed Gatie, B.Sc.’14, Biology from Western, University, Canada, Starting a Master’s with Dr. Greg Kelly