Recipient of the School of Graduate Studies Silver Medals of Merit - Master of Science

Elani Bykowski’s thesis focused on the analysis of urinary and blood-derived biomarkers in patients affected by traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. Elani pursued this research under co-supervision by Dr. Gerlinde Metz and Tony Montina (BSc '08, MSc '10) in collaboration with the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary. Elani was supported by a CIHR CGS-M Graduate Award and she received a Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement to spend time at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Elani’s productive academic track record is complemented by outstanding athletic accomplishments as part of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns team.

What is your most memorable uLethbridge experience?
My most memorable experience was going on a 25-hour road trip with other students from the Metz/Montina lab to Pacific Grove, California to present posters at a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance conference.

Is there someone specific who had an important influence on your uLethbridge experience?
I would like to thank my undergraduate research supervisor, Dr. Jon Doan, for teaching me foundational research skills and my graduate research co-supervisors, Dr. Gerlinde Metz and Tony Montina for their support and mentorship during my uLethbridge journey.

What is the most important lesson you learned?
The most important lesson I learned is to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves; you never know where your next connection or experience will lead to. Be open to different opportunities and put yourself out there.

What are your plans for the future?
I will be starting physiotherapy at the University of Alberta this August. My Master of Science project was focused on associating biomarkers with rehabilitation outcomes following spinal cord injury and brain injury, so I am excited to enter the clinical world of rehabilitation.

What advice would you give to students who are about to begin their graduate studies journeys?
My biggest pieces of advice would be to take advantage of networking with your peers in your classes and labs, and to balance your studies with other things you enjoy.