Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
Science has always fascinated me. During my undergraduate studies at McMaster University, I had wonderful, intellectually stimulating research experiences and I decided to pursue a graduate degree to continue with this learning process.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
What brings me to UBC is the strong research community in bacterial pathogenesis research. My MSc background was in the field of antibiotic resistance and while I was doing my MSc, I got really interested in understanding how bacteria make us sick in the first place, before there is a need for antibiotic use. This place (UBC and current research program) seemed to be a good fit with my research interests.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
Water, lots and lots of it! I love the coastline and the beautiful sunsets. Vancouver is a beautiful city and very accessible through public transit.
What do you hope to accomplish with your research?
Understanding and characterizing complex interactions between the host (mucus layer) and enteric pathogens has the real potential to reduce food and water borne disease. Ultimately I hope that my research will benefit the public at large through designing the novel strategies to combat these bacterial infections. I am keen in exploring the translational aspects of my research (bench to bedside concept).
What has winning a major award meant to you?
It has been an honor to be a Vanier Scholar this year. Having my research and community involvement acknowledged in such an honorable manner gives me the confidence to move forward with my research, while staying involved in the activities outside of my lab. The Vanier scholarship program provides support to attend national/international conferences as well as training off-site opportunities which are an important component of my graduate training.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Work hard, but also take this opportunity to network and make professional connections. Get involved in things and activities you feel passionate about. Grad school is a wonderful opportunity to explore different areas and to meet people from a diverse array of experiences. I strongly believe that these interactions ultimately shape the course of our careers/life after grad school.