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Second Place 2021/22

The early detection of HIV using a Nef direct ELISA

Competition Material

Elevator Pitch Video

Poster Presentation Video

Meet the team members

Alexandra Akman

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3rd year Translational and Molecular Medicine student, The University of Ottawa

Fun Fact:  I passed out on the leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland and it was caught on camera!

What's next for you:  I will continue studying at uOttawa and start my Honours thesis in Dr. Wang’s lab looking at nanoparticles and cancer stem cells.

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Emma Dorfman

3rd Year Translational and Molecular Medicine, The University of Ottawa

Fun Fact:  I have an extreme fear of ketchup

What's next for you:  In the Fall, I will begin my Honours thesis in Chris Kennedy’s lab at the Kidney Research Centre, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.  I plan to investigate the role of oxidative stress in renal filtration.ribute to the scientific community.

Why did you choose your project?

Through our time volunteering with the Canadian Blood Services we noticed that men who have sex with men (MSM) had to abstain 3 months prior to blood donation. We wanted to find a way to decrease this wait time to make blood donations more feasible and inclusive for MSM. 

What has IgNITE taught you?

We are in a research heavy undergraduate program that helped us build a strong understanding of the research process.  IgNITE has provided us an opportunity to apply this foundation to a real world problem in a creative way.

Do you have any advice for future competitors?

Pick a topic with high impact that can be studied in a clear way.  The quality of your proposal can be hidden by confusing and overly complicated protocols. 

Next goals:

Our next goal is to get published! We recently won another research case competition that will lead to a peer reviewed paper.

Meet the team mentor


Rana Abdelhalim

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University of Ottawa, 1st year of MSc

Fun Fact:  I can write my name in hieroglyphics lol.

Current research project title: Investigating M1 dependence in learned motor skills following ischemic stroke in mice. 


My IgNITE journey

This is my second year as an IgNITE mentor and it has continuously been an enjoyable experience. Being an IgNITE mentor is incredibly rewarding as you can see all the positive progress your team has made throughout their journey. It is also a great way to improve your communication skills and help other students that are also passionate about biomedical research.

A message to my team

To my team, I would like to tell them that I am extremely proud of them and that I look forward to the day when they’re able to actually investigate their proposed project.

Advice for future competitors

Start thinking about what your proposed project will be about early on. In addition, the simpler, the better, don’t overcomplicate your proposed experiments.

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