The Trev and Joyce Deeley Research Centre (DRC) located at BC Cancer – Victoria, is a world-class cancer research facility specializing in cancer immunotherapy. The DRC is home to the Molecular and Cellular Immunology Core (MCIC), a state-of-the-art facility for molecular immunology and pathology studies. When University of Victoria co-op students join the MCIC team they contribute to life-changing cancer research. As a leader in advancing what we know about how the immune system and cancer interact, the MCIC encourages students to bring their critical thinking skills to work each day. This collaborative approach has made the Deeley Research Centre stand out as the 2022 Co-op Employer of the Year (under 50 employees).
“At the end of every 8-month co-op term, students have been exposed to a broad scope of techniques and have completed an immunological technique research project,” says UVic science co-op coordinator Heather Croft. “These experiences help students develop their analytical and critical thinking skills as well as their ability to discuss big ideas.”
Deeley Research Centre has welcomed UVic co-op students into 96 co-op work terms since it first started hiring in 2011. Fifty-seven of these biochemistry, microbiology, biomedical engineering, and mathematics and statistics students have worked with Katy Milne (BSc ’00), a UVic alum who was one of the first scientists to join the team in 2003 and whose leadership has helped the team advance what we know about how cancer hides from the immune system.
“Katy consistently provides co-op students with an exceptional depth and quality of experience,” says Heather. “Thanks to her mentorship, students have contributed to more than 30 peer-reviewed publications. They regularly share how Katy’s kind, courteous and encouraging approach has shaped their interest in careers as researchers or health care practitioners.”
“The DRC truly values the contributions made by UVic co-op students. The continued success of the MCIC is directly attributable to their efforts.” says Dr. David Bond, research operations leader, DRC and UVic BSc ’03 co-op alum. “MCIC’s training program provides co-op students with specialized laboratory skills in immuno-oncology that are highly valued by employers as there is a shortage of highly qualified personal in this field across Canada. To this end, Katy provides exceptional leadership creating a supportive research environment that provides students with the critical tools required to succeed in the workplace”.
In fact, many co-op students who complete work terms with MCIC return to work as research interns and research associates after completing their degrees, a testament to the powerful impact of this exceptional learning environment.