Tony Lam_ImageIt's hard for Tony Lam to think of himself as a role model, but recently he found himself in the position of one.

Last week, the 33-year-old UHN scientist spoke with Chinese high-school students at a career seminar in North York, Ont., about how he discovered his life's calling. "I really wanted to share my story because I went to high school in Toronto too, so I have a lot of common ground with these kids," says Lam, who holds the John Kitson McIvor Chair in Diabetes Research at the Toronto General Research Institute and University of Toronto, and is an assistant professor of physiology and medicine at U of T.
A fast-rising talent in diabetes research, Lam, along with his research team, is credited with discovering a new signalling pathway between three organs—the gut, brain and liver—which lowers blood sugar when activated. His research may open up new possibilities for the treatment of diabetes and obesity. "I wanted to show the students that a person who studies at an ordinary high school in Toronto—if they strive for their passions and dreams—can make an impact globally," he says.

Organized by the Ontario Pui Ching High School Alumni Association, Vision Youth, a youth-leadership-training program, and Richmond Hill City Councillor Godwin Chan, the event aimed to raise awareness about "non-traditional" career options for students—outside of medicine, accounting, law and engineering. Careers in these fields are common in the Chinese community, according to the event's organizers. The event drew nearly 450 students and parents from across Greater Toronto Area.​​

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