Denis Qeska is a 2021 Canada Student Merit Award winner. He achieved this award for obtaining the highest standing of his class in the fourth and final year of his degree. Here is a brief biography of the winner.
From his hometown of Toronto, Denis Qeska pursued a degree in Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa as the recipient of the Schulich Leader Scholarship in Science. Fascinated by the structural and molecular basis of life, he saw organic chemistry as a powerful tool to study and treat the changes underlying disease, leading to a specialization in Chemical Biology.
Denis’s broad academic interests outside the classroom led to research in clinical transplantation, chemical engineering, systems biology, and computational biochemistry. As part of the Multi-Organ Transplant Program at Toronto General Hospital, he studied treatment strategies for an opportunistic infection in kidney transplantation. As part of the inaugural cohort of the Amgen Scholars Canada Program, he helped develop novel nanoparticle chemotherapeutic formulations in the lab of Professor Molly Shoichet. During his undergraduate thesis in the lab of Professor William Stanford, he investigated transcriptomic changes that occur in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. He was also selected as a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow at The Rockefeller University where he used high-throughput molecular docking experiments to screen for novel cancer therapeutics in the lab of Professor Sanford Simon.
He has been fortunate to present his work at the American Transplant Congress and International Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Research Conference.
As a proponent of youth mental health promotion and peer support, he has co-founded numerous student organizations during high school and university to raise awareness. He has also represented Biochemistry students as part of the Science Students’ Association and been involved in various community organizations.
In his free time, he enjoys playing piano, often performing in the community, soccer, skiing, and Ultimate Frisbee.
Denis is currently in his first year of medical school at the University of Toronto and continues to be involved in research as a way to make broad contributions to the biomedical field.