"We started the patent process but it became too costly and time-consuming to complete it."
The ABC competition is very similar to what happens in academia and industry, Barfett has since realized. The skills learned have been very useful in the university setting and made him much more creative in thinking up new solutions on how medical devices could be improved for example.
"It's given me the confidence and the experience to think from an innovative stand point."
Before he participated, Barfett thought scientific research was only done in unveristy settings. After ABC he realized that industry played an enormous role in research and the scope for careers in the private and public sector was much broader.
"The Aventis Biotech Challenge was the best, genuine learning experience that I've had."
"It really opened my mind to what goes on in real research labs and became a big influence in my career choice."
Thanks to the Aventis Biotech Challenge (ABC) CEGEP student Sophie Desbiens was able to use the research facilities of the Montreal Jewish Hospital and ended up working in the hospital's lab the following two summers.
"It was my first real lab experience and I just loved it," Desbiens said.
The Montreal student took first place in 1998 competition for her project to help obese people by increasing the production of a protein in human cells that would increase the amount of fat burned. This fundamental research could eventually lead to a drug that would induce weight loss in obese people, Desbiens said.
Learning both the lab skills from professionals and how to explain her project and the science behind it to people who didn't have a technical background are among two of the important lessons she received.
Her ABC experience a
Contact: Terry Collins
Canadian Biotechnology Education Resource Centre