The following student researchers were interviewed and profiled by second-year journalism student, Hannah Snider, during the 2022-23 academic year.

gokce-alp.jpgGokce Alp has a PhD in chemical engineering from Hacettepe University in Turkey.

When she began her studies in bioinformatics at Langara, she was quick with her discovery of the Applied Research Centre (ARC). 

Having previous experience working in a wet lab, she spoke with instructor Dr. Jessica Kalra and has since been working with Dr. Kalra on designing and developing lipid based nanocarriers for drug delivery systems.

Alp says she loves working with ARC and has a passion for research and lab work. “That’s why I didn’t want to stop doing research when I’m also a student. I didn’t want a break from research," she explains.

Alp has plans to combine knowlodge from her doctorate in chemical engineering and her diploma in bioinformatics to continue working in research facilities using data analytics. 

She says that if younger students are curious about lab work, they should reach out to the instructors and ask for opportunities. Alp adds that ARC is a great chance for students to build up their CVs and themselves. "They will get to learn how to work with a group and how to do collaborate. If they curious about lab work, just go and talk with instructors and ask for their ideas and if there are any possibilities.”


Prior to attending Langara College, Lydia Chau had studied and spent three years working in Hong Kong as a business analyst in the banking industry. Chau felt she was more interested in studying data analytics and enrolled in Langara to study the emerging field. While beginning her studies at Langara, Chau became aware of the Applied Research Centre (ARC). When she saw instructors from the department posting job opportunities, she was quick to apply and was soon selected to work as a research assistant.

Since Chau is currently studying data analytics, her work with ARC involves collecting data to consolidate with other data tables into documents. From using previous data findings, Chau joined the research team creating documents regarding international students and what their education, career, and immigration paths are.

Chau’s main focus is also on formulating a visualization of the research results from the data she collected – a format of “data visualization." Chau has had a great experience working with ARC, and especially working alongside international students. It can be difficult for others to relate to their situations, but that is where Chau’s work pays off. Chau says, “I think the outcome is more [of] letting others know actually what their reality is.” With Chau’s assistance in the research, the project is paving a pathway to fully understanding academic and migration processes. This development can help the public, government, Langara, or other organizations be able to assist international students with their current needs.

As an Associate of Science student in Health Sciences, Max Beserab was studying biology and chemistry during his second year when biology instructor, Stephanie Cheung, introduced him to her colleague, Ji Yong Yang. Yang, who is currently conducting research on feral hops growing in British Columbia. After meeting Yang, Besarab began working with the Applied Research Centre (ARC) in January 2022.

Besabrab explains that this research is based on discovering feral hops growing in British Columbia. This discovery limits the need to purchase hops from manufacturers in the United States and Europe, and helps create completely local beer. Besarab’s work includes analyzing which feral hops are most suitable for use to make beer, and determining which ones can be used for what style of beer.

Another side of the project is that Besarab and the research team are coming up with new techniques to extract terpenes and analyze them in a more efficient way, which extracts the hops into the form of an oil.

Besarab says, “We use solid extraction because industry uses steam distillation. Steam distillation is a lengthy process, so solvent extraction is faster, and we're trying to see if it's as efficient or even better.”

Besarab is working towards attending medical school and has found that working with ARC has offered him the necessary lab skills and work ethics to successfully apply for med school. “I want to contribute to the research, to the art, and help in any way I can,” says Besarab.

Gareth Tang is a third-year bioinformatics student at Langara who is also working on an eight month co-op.

While taking general sciences at Langara five years ago, Tang transferred into bioinformatics after attending his first dry lab (a lab that requires computer data work) in Biology 1. 

Tang says he got to see DNA in a different way while conducting a “blast search.” “Usually you would see DNA as part of your genes and the sequence of letters on paper – it’s what makes you, you.  But if we see it from a computer's perspective, it’s also another way of storing data, which is how biologists see it.

Tang says storing data such as DNA, is stored using ones and zeros, but you can store them as nucleotides, a molecule consisting of a nitrogen-consisting base.

The Applied Research Centre struck Tang’s interest when he first attended Applied Research Day in 2019. Tang says, “I got to see all these different faculties that had their individual booths and I was quite amazed at what they had to present. Rather than simply being from science, you could see people that were from business, people from the arts. There was even a 3D printer there.”

That same year, Tang was introduced to work with ARC through instructor, Dr. Prashant Kumar, but his work with ARC began in the fall semester of 2021.  

Dr. Kumar needed students for his work on various antimicrobial properties in cannabis. The research would test samples of various bacterial species and concentrations to find out what the lowest concentration needs to be to prevent bacteria from growing. Tang says if the research has promise and can show concrete results, there could be development of an antimicrobial product. 

For students interested in the Applied Research Centre, Tang says it is important to be involved with your campus. “Do well enough in your studies while also learning about the various events in Langara, such as Applied Research Day. Get to know your professors beyond the classroom, visiting them during office hours, and be appreciative about the chance to study at a post-secondary institution.”

Tang says to keep an open mind when working in research. “It is normal to expect that things may not go the way you're expecting before you start working ... The point of research [is] that we are not really supposed to artificially influence the way or unfairly influence the way that our experiments go. We simply observe, and if things come out differently we should question ‘why’.” 

Tang is thankful for the guidance that he has received from ARC. “I would like to thank Dr. Prashant Kumar, my instructor and supervisor Dr. Ji Yong Yang, Dr. Ido Hatam, and Seetha Kumaran for the opportunities, and also for facilitating an easy transition into this opportunity.” Tang says that working with ARC has helped him decide to further his career in data science. 

parleen-mand.jpgSecond-year biology student, Parleen Mand, is studying at Langara to pursue a career in physiotherapy. Through the Student Work Assistance Program (SWAP), Mand heard about the Applied Research Centre (ARC), and wanted to gain more experience inside a research lab.

With the Applied Research Center, she has been able to expand her academic opportunities and is now considering a career in analytical chemistry. From studying organic chemistry, her work with ARC offers her a first-hand understanding of how the lab machinery creates the link between biology and chemistry.

Mand sees her work with ARC as a great opportunity for the partners that her ARC team is affiliated with. With her research in cannabis, there is potential for crossover to work with other pharmaceuticals. Mand’s research offers customers a chance to find cannabis products that are beneficial to their needs, providing knowledge of their strength and usage. Mand says, “When working with hospitals, we have an understanding of the products before actually putting them into your body.

Yukiko Inokuchi graduated with a diploma in health sciences from Langara College in December 2021. She is now a co-op student through Langara for Mitacs, a national research organization. During her time as a health science student, Inokuchi took additional biology classes to satisfy program requirements.

From one of her biology instructors, she learned about the Langara’s Applied Research Centre (ARC) and that its search for outstanding performing students to apply for opportunities to work in the College’s research labs.

Even though she did not feel qualified, she decided to apply and was successful. Inokuchi has been working with the ARC for the last ten months on a project researching feral hops. She is working on identifying feral hops which are uniquely wild to BC.

Though Inokuchi did not initially have plans to become a researcher, she enjoys working with ARC because it is an opportunity for her to apply what she has previously studied in both chemistry and multi-biology by using a hands-on scientific approach. Inochuki says, “I would say you can learn a lot of things beyond [the] textbook.”

The research center has inspired Inokuchi to gain a broader perspective on health sciences – by allowing her to see the process and the actual results through research – than what she would learn from only sitting in a classroom.

The Applied Research Centre has offered Inokuchi an opportunity to study beyond the textbook and she plans to apply what she has learned from her research through ARC to other companies that she may work for in the future.