School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Chelsy Prince

Chelsy Prince - PhD candidate, Biochemistry (DBMS)

"Researching Her Passion."

By Filza Naveed

December 2014

Chelsy Prince believes that research in a lab can help one grow, as it provides one with an environment to learn, as well as to create new knowledge.

A sixth year biochemistry student researching in Dr. Jia’s lab at Queen’s University, Prince feels that this university is the perfect place for her to conduct research.

“Queen’s is a tight knit community with beautiful surroundings. It’s near to the lake and you have everything you could want here. I also really like Kingston because it reminds me of my hometown. I grew up in a small town of 5000 people. You could walk to anywhere you wanted- downtown Kingston has the same feel,” she says.

As a child, Chelsy always wanted to be a musician. It was in grade ten that she realized her love for science when an enthusiastic teacher ignited the passion in her. She thus decided to pursue science in university and then continued research as a post-graduate student.

“While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I worked in Dr. Zongchao Jia’s lab and developed a good working relationship with him. During this time, I gained valuable hands-on experience in research. I also became aware of the gap between what is taught in lectures and what is learnt through conducting research in a lab,” she said.

It was this eye-opening experience that solidified Prince’s decision to continue research work and led her to pursue a PhD.

Prince’s graduate studies have been supported by two scholarships from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and two Ontario Graduate Scholarships.

Internally, Queen’s awarded Prince the J. Nesheim Memorial Award in Biochemistry in 2009, the Queen Elizabeth II Scholarship in Science and Technology in 2010, and the Jellink-Lyttle Graduate Fellowship in Biochemistry in 2012.

Her current research in structural biochemistry involves bacterial pathogens and uncovering cellular pathways that could be novel targets for antibiotic development.

“Over time, bacteria are developing resistance to current treatments, making the necessity of finding new ways to combat multi-drug resistance more pressing,” she says.

Prince’s love for her work also won her the Bernhard Rupp Poster Award, at the 23rd International Congress and General Assembly of the International Union of Crystallography. The event was held in Montreal from August 5 to August 12, 2014. Winning this award in such a major international conference was no small feat.

According to Prince, this international meeting brought together more than 2000 participants and over 1000 posters were presented.

“The Bernhard Rupp award was shared between three students for an outstanding poster in biomolecular crystallography. ” she says.

When looking at her past achievements and accomplishments, Prince cannot imagine doing anything other than her research work. She has recently accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at Rutgers University in antiviral research, which she will take up after graduation. She says she wants to make a meaningful contribution towards medical advancement, and is full of wisdom when asked to give advice to other students thinking of doing research, but who may be unsure.

“Try research. There are always professors looking for eager, helping hands. Talk to people and look for every hidden opportunity. You’ll be surprised at what you may find. Success doesn’t just happen. You work for it until you find it,” she says with a smile.