Piriya Yoganathan recently completed her Bachelor of Science in Cell Biology and Genetics at the University of British Columbia in 2011. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, and part of the Collaborative Graduate Program in Cancer Research at Queen’s University. Piriya’s doctoral research broadly focuses on understanding the role of the RET receptor in breast cancer. The RET receptor is a protein found on the surface of cancer cells that initiates cancer cell growth, survival and cell movement. Through gaining a better understanding of the role of the RET receptor in breast cancer, it may be possible to target this protein as a novel treatment for breast cancer. She has received many awards in support of her graduate research, including the Queen Elizabeth II Scholarship in Science and Technology, the Terry Fox Foundation Training Program in Transdisciplinary Cancer Research in partnership with CIHR Studentship, and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Doctoral Fellowship.
In addition to her academic pursuits, Piriya is involved with her community, particularly in promoting youth science engagement through judging at regional science fairs, as an active member of the Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Regional Science Fair Committee, as an instructor for the Queen’s Enrichment Studies Unit-Cancer Today course for high school students, and as a Girl Guide Leader. She is eager to volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society to advocate cancer research, education and awareness to the community-at-large.