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Cancer Research Leads to Award

As a young person, Kerry Robinson never dreamed she would become an award-winning research specialist at a

Researcher Kerry Robinson in the laboratory
Kerry Robinson is proud to do her research in the
city she loves.
DNA facility. In the late ‘90s, Kerry came to Lakehead University from Terrace Bay. When Kerry’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer she changed her educational focus to cancer biology. To complete her Masters of Science in Kinesiology Kerry approached Genesis Genomics and then CEO Dr. Robert Thayer to participate in the company’s prostate cancer research efforts.

That work sparked what would be a giant change for her and make her a key contributor in Thunder Bay’s knowledge-based economic transition. While working on her thesis project under the guidance of her supervisors (Dr. Robert Thayer then CEO and Ryan Parr Chief Scientific Officer and VP Research & Development, cofounders of Genesis Genomics Inc.) Kerry discovered a biomarker showing the presence of prostate cancer at the molecular level. This discovery earned the young researcher the 2006 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Innovation Award.

Kerry is now a full-time Research Specialist with Genesis Genomics and the company is working towards commercializing the biomarker to improve prostate cancer detection. Kerry and her ‘family of researchers’, as she calls them, are also looking to discover biomarkers for breast cancer and other diseases in need of earlier detection tests.

“I am so passionate about cancer research, to be able to do it in Thunder Bay is even better,” says Kerry. “This city lends itself to being able to do more in a day. You just sort of have it all here: four seasons, awesome recreation opportunities, a growing biotechnology industry, without the air pollution or long commutes.”

Kerry was also part of the team that developed the technology behind the dermaDNA™, Cellular DNA Assessment Test, used to assess the risk and damage to skin caused by UV exposure. As of April, the product can be found on shelves at over 800 Shopper’s Drug Mart stores nationwide.