Our Mini Med School Team is hard at work putting together a diverse schedule that maximizes the opportunity to explore leading-edge medical research. The content below is a draft schedule and subject to changes. 

Date: Friday, April 8
Location: Coast Chilliwack Hotel, 45920 First Ave, Chilliwack, BC 
Time: 8:30 am to 3:05 pm


8:30 am - Registration and Welcome Activity

Participants will be required to show organizers a valid vaccine passport and government photo ID before being permitted into the conference room. 

8:55 am - Welcome and Introductions

Learn more about Mini Med School and the BC Children's Hospital researchers that are pursuing discovery and translating their research into life-saving clinical innovations and excellence in child health.

9:00 am - Research Lecture

Neuroscience, epigenetics and your developing brain
Discover how your genes and environment shape who you are. After a short primer on the epigenetics in the brain, you’ll be using your full (action) potential to test your knowledge in a friendly game of Neuro-jeopardy.

Presented by Dr. Annie Ciernia, Affiliate Investigator, BC Children's Hospital; Assistant Professor, UBC Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

9:45 am - Ex-quiz Me? 

Test your health sciences knowledge! This interactive game will let you compete for prizes and gain more insight on the latest translational and clinical research topics. 

10:00 am - Research Leader Introductions

Meet the 2022 Mini Med School Faculty! 

10:05 am - Break

--- 10 minute break ---

10:15 am - Research Activities: Part #1

Attendees will work in groups and participant in a selection of the following activities. 


  • The Five Second Rule – Heart Health Edition! 
    Time to brush up on your biology and think fast! Delve into the world of heart health as you explore this vital organ, provide rapid-fire answers and compete for heartfelt prizes. Presented by Bianca Fukakusa, Masters Student, UBC Department of Medicine; Harris Research Team, BC Children’s Hospital 
  • See it to believe it! From visual perception to your brain
    Looking at your surroundings, how does your brain understand where you are and what you’re doing? In this interactive demonstration, learn how visual aspects, such as shape and colour, can be combined with contextual cues to stimulate the pathway between the visual cortex and brain. Presented by Hallee Shearer, Masters Student, UBC Department of Neuroscience; Vanderwal Research Team, BC Children’s Hospital. 
  • Gut feeling: which foods promote good or bad bacteria? 
    A balance of good and bad bacteria in your intestinal tract is essential for a healthy gut. However, certain types of food can upset this balance by promoting an abundance of bad bacteria. Challenge your assumptions on everyday food choices as you explore the microbiome, and discover how bad bacteria can thrive and lead to long-term health complications. Presented by Matthias Mslati, Doctoral Student, UBC Department of Pediatrics; Vallance Research Team, BC Children’s Hospital. 
  • Applying the Scientific Method to Pediatric Cancer Research 
    Discover how human immune cells can be used to treat and prevent diseases in the field of pediatric cancer. In this session, you will be presented with scientific data and challenged to formulate your own research proposal based on the information provided. You’ll be able to think like a health scientist and apply the scientific method as you state your hypothesis, design your experiment, interpret your results, draw a conclusion and devise a new research question. Presented by Madeline Lauener, Doctoral Student, UBC Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Schultz Research Team, BC Children’s Hospital. 


  • The Five Second Rule – Heart Health Edition! 
    Time to brush up on your biology and think fast! Delve into the world of heart health as you explore this vital organ, provide rapid-fire answers and compete for heartfelt prizes. Presented by Claire Galvin, Research Coordinator, Armstrong Research Team.
  • Unraveling Type 1 Diabetes
    Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces little to no insulin, leading to unregulated blood sugar levels that can cause further health complications. Children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes must work with a healthcare team to find ways to balance treatment options and a healthy lifestyle. In this workshop, learn more about this chronic condition and how doctors at BC Children’s Hospital and beyond are screening and supporting families. Presented by Bianca Vizcaino, Research Assistant, Endocrinology & Diabetes, BC Children’s Hospital; Panagiotopoulos Research Team
  • Brainstorming: Anatomy of your Brain Cells
    Do you know what a neuron looks like? Can you identify a microglia, oligodendrocyte, astrocyte, or endothelial cell? Essential to the brain and nervous system, these cells help coordinate and support our everyday functions. In this hands-on activity, you will be investigating the unique structure, location and function of each brain cell while using your creative skills to build a clay model. Presented by Olivia Sullivan, Masters Student, UBC Department of Neuroscience; Ciernia Research Team, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.
  • Genetics in Personalized Medicine: Past Developments and Future Applications
    The development of genetic sequencing technologies has led to a new era of “genomics” and personalized medicine. In this session, participants will discuss the technical innovations that have allowed us to sequence an individual’s entire genetic information, the current healthcare-based applications and the future of genomics in medicine. Take a closer look at the social, legal and economic implications of this powerful technology, as well as the necessary skills and potential new career opportunities in this exciting field. Presented by Spencer Anderson, Doctoral Student, UBC Department Medical Genetics; Carleton & Ross Research Teams, BC Children’s Hospital & Pharmaceutical Outcomes & Policy Innovations.
11:15 am - Lunch

A selection of boxed meals (vegetarian and meat) will be provided for participants. 

Mini Med School is not a nut-free event. We cannot guarantee that there will be no cross-contamination by catering. Participants with any food allergies or dietary restrictions are asked to bring a lunch. We apologize for any inconvenience.

12:15 pm - Research Lecture

Role of membrane contact sites: how do organelles in a cell communicate?
Our cells are made up of different compartments, and include specialized structures called organelles that are constantly communicating with each other. Join us as we explore the regions of close contact between organelle membranes, and discover how these membrane contact sites are vital for not only functioning cells, but for entire organisms.

Presented by Vaishnavi Sridhar, Doctoral Student, UBC Department of Cell and Developmental Biology; Conibear Research Team, BC Children’s Hospital & Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics. 

1:00 pm - Research Activities: Part #2

Attendees will work in groups and continue to participant in the selection of activities listed above. 

2:00 pm - Break

--- 15 minute break ---

2:15 pm - Who Wants to be a Health Scientist?

Challenge your assumptions about what it means to work in health sciences. This interactive activity will give you a better idea of the day-to-day responsibilities of those working in the medical or research field. 

3:00 pm - Closing Remarks

Participants will at dismissed at 3:05 pm.

Optional: 3:05 pm to 3:30 pm - Student Networking

Interact with our health science experts! After dismissal the Mini Med School Faculty will be available to network one-on-one with interested participants. 

Learn how you can participate in Mini Med School

Do you have more questions? Check out our Mini Med School FAQs or contact researchevents@phsa.ca.