Introducing GSC’s ‘Emerging Leader’ Student Intern: Chloe Liu

3rd Year PhD Candidate, Chloe Liu

Chloe Liu is a Graduate Student at the Rosalind & Morris Goodman Cancer Institute at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Chloe’s research focuses on the initiation and investigation of predictive cellular signatures for human prostate cancer progression. 

Chloe is the eldest of three kids and was born in Vancouver, BC. At two years old, she and her family moved to Hong Kong, where her family is originally from. When Chloe was in the ninth grade, she and her family immigrated back to Vancouver, BC. Having attended an English-speaking primary school in Hong Kong, language was not so much an adjustment—rather the greatest obstacle was the culture shock.

While in the International Baccalaureate program in secondary school, her love for science was first inspired by an excellent biology teacher. This very same teacher also introduced to her what would become her specialization: biochemistry. She applied to three different schools, ultimately accepting the offer from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.

Chloe was fascinated by the complexity and interactions of proteins and mechanisms. As she grew in faith, her passion for the discipline became more personal. She was inspired and driven to discover and explore the connections between pathways as they provided her with a glimpse into the brilliance of our Creator. He created each protein, each pathway, and each mechanism with purpose. “Proteins cannot function in isolation,” she explained, “they need each other. Only when a protein interacts with other proteins, the function of the protein can then be brought to completion. Biochemical pathways capture how proteins work together sequentially all to carry out a unique function that is essential for life.” Chloe draws a parallel between these scientific concepts to her relationship with God: just as every protein is connected to perform a function, the events in her life, although seemingly isolated and different, are all connected and purposed by God.

She recounted a bible study training session she attended where she understood a profound truth: the Bible was a God-orchestrated story. It was not an old book that used nice-sounding verses in superficial ways, but the different events and stories in the bible are connected purposefully and documented intentionally—from the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus to Revelation— they all form God’s love letter to humanity. Exploring those connections made her excited to study the Bible deeper to experience God in her daily life, and caused her to know God in a fresh way: a God of connection. ”Jesus is the Connection between us and the Father!“ she exclaimed, “the Scripture says no one comes to the Father except through me!”

Chloe then connected these thoughts to knowledge: “Seeing the connections in biochemistry helps us understand more about the process of how life works. We may understand each pathway individually, but it is understanding the connection of different pathways that allows us to fully understand their purpose and function”.

“That very well reflects how we can gain knowledge in life. Sometimes we do not want to remember the experiences that caused fear, regret, sadness, or loneliness—we often do not want to accept them within ourselves as we don’t want to be associated with the negative. But when Jesus is in the story, He restores us. He saves us from sin and from what happened in the past. With Jesus, we don’t have to be afraid of making those connections of how God is working in our lives for good. We can see God in our past and take confidence that He will guide us in the future. Through His love, mercy, and grace, we can be able to see those connections, and although we don’t always understand now, we can have confidence that He is working all things for our good.”

“The number one reason that I really enjoy biochemistry— and even doing my Ph.D in biochemistry—is because I see God in it. That is my number one motivation.”

She made the move to Montreal, Quebec in 2016. It was an extremely difficult transition: living alone for the first time, adapting to a brand new city with no family and no friends. She did find some comfort, however, in studying. That was her “coping mechanism” to deal with the sadness. Her newfound independence—and her periods of loneliness—gave her a unique opportunity to dive deeper into her faith.

“[God] really changed my life.

Over the years at McGill, Chloe can confidently say that she experienced a newness in her understanding of God. She attended the new student orientation organized by Christian groups at McGill and was first exposed to Power2Change and InterVarsity, two Christian student fellowships. During her undergraduate degree, she had the chance to be part of Power2Change as well as Intervarsity student fellowship. She deeply enjoyed being in community with other Christian students who were of diverse disciplines.

In 2019, after completing her honours undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, she then became an active member of the McGill Graduate Christian Fellowship (GCF), a branch of InterVarsity. Nearly a year later, the president of the GCF had to step down and extended the President position to Chloe. Chloe pondered whether or not she would accept. She saw it as an adventure, and although she had no clue what to do in regards to leading a student fellowship, she felt so much excitement. Through prayer, she felt confident that God was leading her to say “yes!

God blessed the GCF, having started with just a handful of people to now an attendance that has tripled in size. Chloe even reconnected with P2C ppl from her first year.

It was in her role as President where she first met Dr. Peter Schuurman and Anna from Global Scholars Canada. She partnered with Peter and Anna along with a planning team to prepare a conference for Christian graduate students and Christian professors in 2021. Chloe recalls the kindness and respect she experienced, despite being the only student on the planning committee. She was in awe of the connections she made with Christian scholars across Canada. She stayed connected to GSC by subscribing to their newsletter. When the newsletter announced GSC was hiring interns, she felt led to apply. She desired to learn more about her academic vocation. 

The more I study science, the more I’m fascinated and in awe of God.” 

Chloe is also actively involved in church life and is currently a counselor of a student fellowship at the Montreal Chinese Baptist Church. Now in this new season, she is focusing on understanding her vocation in bridging science and faith. She feels that God is leading her into a new chapter with her involvement at GCF. By the end of summer 2022, she will have assumed a different committee role at GCF.

Although Chloe does not plan to stay in academia, she is enthusiastic to keep researching and exploring how to intertwine her faith with her research. She looks forward to helping others see the relation, the relevance, and the connectivity between science and faith through working in the field of knowledge translation, to bring what we have learnt through research into practices.

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