Growing up in rural Alberta was filled with challenges and opportunities.
When I was very young my parents moved to Drumheller, a town of 4000 people in Alberta. The town was known for mining coal, unusual scenery and dinosaur bones. Growing up in this small town as one of the few visible minorities had its challenges. From parents that had only recently moved to Canada, understanding the culture, trying to prosper and even finding the right food in this small town was an adventure. I spent much of my childhood in the garden, planting, what was at the time, very unusual plants to fill out our Indian vegetarian meals. Among the usual staples of onions, carrots, peas and potatoes, our family also planted chick peas, eggplant, and plenty of hot peppers to round out the meal. We got milk from the farm so that we could make our yoghurt, paneer and butter at home. We even had constructed a mill to ground our own chick pea flour, because we were unable to find that in Calgary.
I was lucky, although there was plenty of hard times in this small town, I grew up within a community of generous people. People who despite significant differences were interested in our family, where we came from and how we ended up in this little town in Alberta.
10 years, 3 faculties – BSc., MSc, JD.
I spent a considerable amount of time at the University of Calgary. After high school I wasn’t entirely sure what career would be best, but I was interested in many (many) things. I started my university tour in Cellular, Microbial and Molecular biology. In my final year of my undergraduate degree, I was lucky to work on a cancer research project for Dr. Eva Turley. It was that project that piqued my interest in medical research.
I began my master’s degree in Medical Science soon after finishing my bachelor’s degree. I was privileged to work with Dr. Cyril Frank as my supervisor. He was an tremendous Orthopaedic Surgeon in Calgary, but his significant contribution to medicine was bringing together multidisciplinary research teams to jointly solve difficult medical problems. He was a significant innovator, and in no small way shaped my view of research and the world. Sadly, Dr. Frank passed away in 2015, and Canada lost a great medical contributor.
I was accepted into Law school during the last year of my Master’s degree. The transition to Law is a curious one, but for various reasons felt like it was the right way to take my education. I had an interest in intellectual property law and felt as though my background in science would be of significant value. I thoroughly enjoyed my legal education – I learned to think differently than my science research mind and look for the gray areas, rather than look at certainty. Most notably, one of my professors, Dr. Sheilgh Martin, was recently appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Supreme Court of Canada. After finishing my articles at Code Hunter, my interests took me to the world of technology start ups. My legal background is very valuable in the business world, but my passion was more in line with the technology start ups.
The challenge of bringing ideas to market is one that I find thrilling, and one, frankly that has been the highlights of my career. Working with technology companies in Canada, USA and the UK fully consumes me. More of that on my LinkedIn profile that if you are interested.
More about the Life of Dr. Cy Frank