Kabir Bhalla

Contribution of polyphosphate to Cryptococcal disease
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I pursued a graduate degree because I enjoy problem-solving and discovering new solutions. During my undergraduate years, reading scientific literature sparked my curiosity about research storytelling. I also wanted to continue learning and embracing academic challenges.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I knew that pursuing a PhD would be an arduous and demanding journey, so when considering my options for graduate studies, finding a campus that felt like home was crucial to me. UBC stood out as the clear and natural choice. Having formed strong connections and built meaningful communities during my undergraduate years at UBC, the thought of parting ways was out of the question. Moreover, UBC's renowned reputation and commitment to quality research, along with its excellent location, solidified my decision to stay and embrace the challenges of pursuing my PhD here.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

I always had the desire to integrate my two passions – immunology and mycology. My PhD program offered an exceptional opportunity to do just that! Moreover, I was determined to find a program that would challenge me both academically and professionally. It was crucial for me to train in an environment with easy access to various professional development opportunities, enabling me to build my disciplinary identity and refine my pedagogy skills.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

One of the most delightful surprises about UBC is the abundance of exploration it offers! During my seven years on this campus, I find myself discovering something new almost every time – whether it's an unexplored learning space, an unfamiliar tree, or an exciting workshop. The continuous exploration keeps my experience at UBC exciting and rewarding.

UBC's renowned reputation and commitment to quality research, along with its excellent location, solidified my decision to embrace the challenges of pursuing my PhD here.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

One of my favorite aspects of my graduate program is the abundance of teaching and learning opportunities. Surprisingly, my love for taking courses for personal enrichment has remained strong, prompting me to continuously expand my knowledge base and engage with new ideas. Additionally, I thoroughly enjoy teaching. Interacting with my learners and observing them construct their own learning is an immensely fulfilling experience.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

My involvement in research as a student volunteer and taking mycology courses outside my undergraduate degree program significantly prepared me for my graduate studies.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

I have a passion for discovering fungi in nature! During my free time, you will often find me outdoors, exploring and searching for mushrooms and other macrofungi. Additionally, I am an avid microscopy enthusiast. There's something remarkably relaxing about observing life up close and zoomed in.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

My advice for new graduate students is to embrace boldness and fearlessly explore new paths and opportunities. UBC offers a wealth of experiences, and there's always something exciting happening. Make the most out of your degree – after all, it is yours!


Follow these steps to apply to UBC Graduate School!