Meet HIV researcher Megan Magro

April 25, 2022

When she’s not doing artistic swimming, Megan Magro is in the lab working towards a cure for HIV.

"Here in the lab we do HIV cure research. For my project in particular we’re looking at what’s called an oncolytic virus, it’s a cancer-killing virus. And we’re trying to determine how this cancer-killing virus targets and kills HIV-infected cells.

One way that my work could impact peoples lives in the future is that right now unfortunately we don’t have a cure for HIV. We do have excellent treatment, which is antiretroviral therapy. However, it’s really important to find a cure for this disease, so hopefully my work will be able to lead us a little bit one step closer to be able to do that and help millions of people around the world.

So, how I got into this field was that I originally thought that I wanted to do medicine. And then I was doing an overseas volunteer fellowship over in London in the United Kingdom, and I discovered virology, because a lot of patients would come in who needed infectious disease treatment. And that kind of drove me to want to apply to a lab that did infectious disease research for my undergraduate thesis. And then I took some virology and immunology classes in the last couple years of my undergraduate degree, and that really made me decide to continue doing this for graduate school.

Doctors don’t cure disease, doctors treat disease, and if you want to actually cure disease, you have to do research. That was what one of my professors said to me one day and that really stuck in my head. And after that I was like, yeah, this is what I want to do for sure.

The graduate students here in the lab we’re all really a kind of close knit group and we’re all really close friends, so it’s nice knowing that I can come here every day and like have help and support from them, and get to spend time with each other and vent our experiments out and everything like that.

What makes my career really relevant and fulfilling to me is being able to come to work every day, and know that hopefully the work that I’m doing will be able to impact the community and hopefully lead us one step closer to curing HIV one day."

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Ottawa Hospital Research Institute