Ana Catalina Medina
“I am extremely honoured and grateful to have received this award for my master’s thesis. It is a great achievement for me and a validation of my hard work. I would like to thank my supervisor Albert Descoteaux, as well as my professors and colleagues at INRS.”
Ana Catalina Medina Jaramillo
M.Sc. in virology and immunology, 2023
Centre Armand-Frappier Santé Biotechnologie
Supervisor: Albert Descoteaux
2023 Best master’s thesis awardee
Ana Catalina Medina received an “Excellent” mention for her thesis on the use of L. tarentolae extracellular vesicles, an adjuvant that can improve the immune response induced by vaccination, a significant and innovative contribution to the fields of vaccine research. Her methodology and experimental approach were robust and demonstrated remarkable analytical and synthetic skills. Furthermore, her work has been presented at several conferences, even winning an award for one of them. Her thesis is currently being submitted to a scientific journal.
What brought you to INRS?
Curiosity and good understanding with my supervisor, Professor Albert Descoteaux, led me to choose INRS. Indeed, when we discussed how I could apply my knowledge and experience, I quickly decided to join his team to work on a new applied science project.
What do you remember about your experience?
My fondest and best memories of INRS are the great people I met there. I formed a multicultural family and broadened my knowledge thanks to the multidisciplinary nature of the centre and the availability of all the people to help us and to answer and discuss our doubts and questions.
Can you describe the challenge and impact of the research presented in your thesis?
In order to improve the immune response to antigens, my master’s research focused on the development of more effective vaccine adjuvants and delivery mechanisms. To achieve this, I used a non-pathogenic parasite, L. tarentolae (which can produce proteins very similar to those we produce) to express the SARS-CoV-2-S protein in their extracellular vesicles. I found that these extracellular vesicles have an impact on the production of inflammatory cytokines in macrophages and dendritic cells. The results suggest potential avenues for future studies on the genetic modification and use of these extracellular vesicles as adjuvants in vaccine production. My thesis makes a significant and innovative contribution to vaccine research.
What does it mean to you to win this award?
It is a great achievement for me and a recognition of my hard work.
What is the next chapter for you now that you have graduated?
Now I’m applying what I learned in my master’s degree, working as a research associate in a company that is developing multispecific antibodies as a treatment for cancer.