Sami Alrashed in bio labResearch experience as an undergraduate help pave the way to a medical career for biomedical sciences grad Sami Alrashed.

Undergraduate research experience leads alumnus to lifelong dream

When Sami Alrashed graduated this spring with his Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and biomedical sciences, he recalled fondly his research experiences as a UWindsor student.

Entering post-secondary studies as an Outstanding Scholar with a thirst for learning, he found opportunities to engage in exploration by reading about professors’ research and attending campus presentations on their progress and discoveries.

In his second year, he began working in the biology lab of Lisa Porter.

“Professors want to have you on board,” Alrashed said. “And they want to train you into future stars.”

By year three, he was known by science faculty and students, working as a teaching assistant and participating in community activities while holding down two part-time jobs off-campus.

Alrashed’s fourth-year thesis proposed a novel targeted therapy to combat glioblastoma — an aggressive cancer that can form in the brain or the spinal cord.

“Sometimes I would catch myself thinking about how surreal it is to have the opportunity to contribute to elevating the health of our community,” he said. “Even if my actions seem minuscule, it helps us understand the big picture.”

His passion for research earned Alrashed the 2021 Board of Governors Medal for the highest academic standing in his program. He will begin studies in medicine at the University of Ottawa this fall, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

And along the way, he has developed a network of colleagues who treat him like family. Alrashed credited support from Dr. Porter, her research assistant Dorota Lubanska, his lab mates, and “alllll of my friends.”