Solving research puzzles and giving back to her program
Jodi Garner is a self-proclaimed problem solver – a good trait to have if you are a researcher, project coordinator and laboratory manager at a research-intensive hospital like SickKids.
Jodi is a graduate of the Biotechnology program and was drawn to Seneca by the diversity of the program’s curriculum. She was able to explore biology, chemistry, and numerous lab experiments that prepared her for a career in medical research.
“One of the most important things I learned at Seneca is that science doesn’t always work the first time,” says Jodi. “Our professors allowed us to make mistakes and troubleshoot the problem. That’s what makes for a great experiment.”
Jodi is enamored by the element of discovery behind science, viewing it as one giant puzzle, where you have to put all the small pieces together. Her work at SickKids focuses on tissue culture. She studies placental development, specifically how the placenta is made in the early embryo, which can have implications in fertility issues for individuals who can’t conceive naturally.
At SickKids, Jodi is also the Lab Research Project Coordinator for the Chief of Research, and the Facility Manager for the embryotic stem cell core facility. Jodi has been instrumental to the growth of the core facility, having introduced new technologies and processes to support researchers with their projects.
Along with advancements in the lab, Jodi has contributed to the development of Seneca’s Biotechnology program. She regularly takes part in classroom visits and sits on the Biotechnology Research Advisory Committee. Thanks in part to Jodi’s efforts, SickKids has developed a strong history of hiring Seneca graduates.
“I was encouraged to give back because of my Microbiology Professor, Michael Gadsden, who was a great mentor to me,” says Jodi. “Keeping the program current ensures students have the necessary skillset to enter the field.”
Jodi has furthered her education, earning a master’s degree at the University of Bristol. As her career continues to progress, the “problem solver” would like to apply her research findings to therapy and patient care.
“A lot of hard work and time goes into research, and things don’t always work out,” says Jodi. “But there is no better feeling than having a breakthrough and knowing those countless hours paid off.”