Canadian Gene Cure Foundation ‘Gene Researcher for a Week’

OICR participates in the Canadian Gene Cure Foundation ‘Gene Researcher for a Week’ program. This program fosters the growth of the next generation of genetic clinician-scientists throughout high schools in Canada.

Highly motivated and ambitious students from grades 11 and 12 are selected and placed in labs of scientists for one week over spring break. This experience gives young students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work alongside cancer research scientists.

For more information or to apply for the program, visit:

Student Experiences - 2015

Gloria at OICR

"The moment I stepped into the OICR reception, there came to me an excitement for the unknown and a feeling that a unique experience was awaiting. My week at OICR was closely connected to the biology I had previously been exposed to, but went far beyond the learning a student could obtain from high school. I not only experienced what it is like to be a researcher, but also realized that doing science is much more about analyzing and solving problems than getting the 'right' answers. Most incredible were my mentor Dr. Brazas and so many other scientists at OICR who were welcoming and knowledgeable and played a substantial role in guiding me through my very first attempt at bioinformatics and research. Without any doubt, this week is one of the most invaluable experiences I've ever had and is motivation for me to keep taking science.”

—Gemma, Grade 11, Bayview Secondary School

"My week at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research was fantastic. During our stay, we learned about genetics research from a wet lab perspective and a bioinformatics perspective. We were taught how to use NCBI and other databases to find mutations. I was assigned to research BRCA1, a breast cancer mutation gene. Seeing the amount of data available online was simply mind-blowing. In the lab, we devised our own DNA extraction and electrophoresis protocol, so that students in rural areas can get interested in genetics research too. However, it did not work the first time! Our gel was too thick for the big human DNA, and our DNA sample did not properly stay in the buffer for the electrophoresis to work either. Through trial and error, we eventually perfected the experiment. My week at OICR was certainly eye-opening, and it was definitely worth my March Break.”

—Neerajen, Grade 12, Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute

Student Experiences - 2014

Gloria at OICR

"I have always loved learning about science, but the week I spent at OICR was completely different from any other learning experience I've had. I was able to get a taste of what a career in research really entails, and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. As a high school student, it really was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work beside so many extraordinary scientists all of whom were welcoming and eager to share their knowledge.”

—Gloria, Grade 11, University of Toronto Schools

Student Experiences - 2013


"My internship at the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research was a tremendous learning experience and has greatly inspired my passion to pursue scientific research. It was so enjoyable to work with many extraordinarily talented scientists who took the time with me to share their knowledge and insights. I am especially excited about the prospects for major advances in cancer research which will have a profound impact on our lives."

—Clare, Grade 11, Branksome Hall