Mitochondria or Mitochondrie? LMP undergraduate heads to Quebec for an adventure in summer research

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Tasha Stoltz
Third-year LMP undergraduate Pathobiology Specialist Program student Tasha Stoltz.

“It’s one thing to order a salad in French but it’s quite another thing to conduct research while speaking French,” says third-year LMP undergraduate Pathobiology Specialist Program student Tasha Stoltz.

This summer Stoltz will be travelling to Quebec to conduct research at the University of Laval in Quebec City. Continuing with her current research, she will be working with Dr. Robert Tanguay to characterize the role of certain proteins in mitochondrial dynamics and the role mitochondria play in developmental biology. Defects in this mechanism have been linked to diseases such as Parkinson ’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Stoltz explains, “Although I’ll be conducting similar research to what I've done before, I’ll be learning new and interesting scientific techniques. I think it’s important to always expand your knowledge.”

With hardly any formal training in French, Stoltz is an intrepid adventurer, “I just started studying French this year. It’s one of those things I’ve always wanted to do and since I grew up in Indonesia and Singapore I never had the chance to learn the language.”

As part of the government-sponsored “Explore” program, Stoltz will be immersed in Quebec culture. Starting in mid-May she’ll spend a month with a host family in the northern Quebec city of Jonquière, where she will attend a five-week intensive French language course. After her crash-course, she’ll head to the lab from mid-June until the end of August.

Excited about expanding her horizons Stoltz says, “I’m looking forward to the cultural immersion. I’ve been to Montreal but everyone says that Quebec City, and especially a small town in Northern Quebec, will be quite different so I think it will be an enriching experience. I’m also going on my own and I don’t know a single person in Quebec City. It will be an adventure!”