Co-op students in the Tokuyama lab win 2nd place in 3-minute thesis competition!
Maria and co-op students
Aug 17, 2021

Thomas Deckers (Engineering Physics) and Eric Liu (Physics and Astronomy) are current Co-op students in the Tokuyama lab researching Endogenous retrovirus signatures in COVID-19.

An equally collaborative process between the two, Deckers and Liu presented their research at the Canadian Society for Virology virtual symposium. With over 100 attendees from all over Canada and 24 3-Minute-Thesis presentations, they received an award for second place!



“8 to 10 percent of our DNA is made up of endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) that have become fixed in our genomes through millions of years of coevolution,” shares Liu. “ERVs are known to be involved in inflammatory diseases such as autoimmunity, cancer, and viral infection. As such, we wanted to identify key ERV loci and look into their role in SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

Working together remotely throughout the summer, Deckers and Liu were able to receive helpful feedback and guidance throughout the whole research process – all while learning more about microbiology and immunology with Dr. Tokuyama.

“I’ve loved the supportive environment and the positive atmosphere,” says Deckers. “I’ll also emphasize how great of an opportunity it has been for me to immerse myself in a new field. Coming from an entirely different faculty, it’s been very exciting to learn the ropes in the wonderful world of microbiology and immunology.”

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology is happy to collaborate with others on campus and are glad these students were able to learn so much. Join us in congratulating Thomas Deckers and Eric Liu on such a great achievement!