ASK GSJ – Alli
Alli lives and works in Greater Saint John
Alli is the Founder and CEO of BioHuntress Therapeutics Inc. and Senior Scientist at Reiman Cancer Research Lab, UNB Saint John - representing Greater Saint Jonh's Health Research sector.
"In beautiful, peaceful Saint John, I have great people and inspiring universities that give me a sense of belonging!"
Greater Saint John attracts and retains talented people like Alli.
We want to show you what it's like to live and work in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Questions and Answers with Alli
Where are you from?
- I am from a beautiful beach town named Pondicherry (hometown of fictional character "Pi" from Yann Martel's book, "Life of Pi") in southern India. My parents are retired School Headmasters in Pondicherry.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
- I did my bachelor's in chemistry in Pondicherry, masters in medical biochemistry from Chennai, and then went to the capital of India, New Delhi, to complete my PhD in biotechnology. Then I travelled all the way to Canada to pursue my postdoctoral fellowship trainings in neuroscience and oncology.
When did you move to Saint John? Was it for your present job?
- In 2009, Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB - a satellite of Dalhousie University, Halifax) came into existence in Saint John, and it attracted my husband Dasse and I to move to Saint John.
Can you please provide a brief overview of your job?
- I am a Senior Scientist in Reiman Cancer Research Lab at the University of New Brunswick. I am also the Founder and CEO of the start-up company BioHuntress Therapeutics Inc. in Saint John. As a scientist, my work focuses on finding novel compounds/treatments for blood cancers and associated bone diseases. As an entrepreneur, I translate academic researh findings into drugs/products that benefit society.
What’s the best thing about your job?
- The ability to experiment and find something new that could make a meaningful impact on people's lives excites me. Having to do what I love as my job is so fulfilling. I am thankful that my enriched, vibrant work environment provides this.
Why do you choose to live and work in Saint John?
- I think it is Saint John that chose me! After my first postdoc term in Halifax, I was with an 8-month-old baby girl in my hands and I wondered if I should return to India. My husband then accepted the Technologist job at Dal Med NB. I picked up the little one and headed with Dasse to Saint John, believing that it would be a new and great beginning for me as well.
What is the best thing about this city?
- To me, it is the people of any place that make all the difference. In 2010, there was not as much diversity in Saint John and it surprised me. However, I loved the very sight of the schools, both UNB Saint John and Dal Med NB, and the Saint John Regional Hospital - all of them located on one campus. The fantastic people that I met here are the ones that keep me going and help me pursue higher goals in life. I wish I could add a second one - yes, the beautiful rivers in our area.
What is your favourite restaurant?
- That's a tough question to answer! I frequent every restaurant for one dish or the other, depending on my mood. Say, Bangkok Chicken from Lemongrass, East Side Mario's for Hell's Kitchen Chicken, Suwanna's Dragon Egg Plant, Thandi's Shrimp Korma, etc.
What is your favourite weekend activity?
- I look forward to my Saturdays. Both my nine-year-old daughter Nila and I do vocal lessons at the Long & McQuade Music Lesson Centre. We do our lessons back to back with the same teacher and I perceive it as out best bonding time - learning and having fun together.
What is something that people from away need to know about Saint John?
- Saint John is a calm beauty! It takes patience to explore and devour its unique charms.
Want more information about what it’s like to live and work in Greater Saint John? Ask Alli