My research focuses on the role of the early life gut microbiota in the development of asthma in childhood. As compared to developing countries, westernized countries have recently seen an epidemic rise in the prevalence of allergic diseases such as asthma. The “Hygiene Hypothesis” suggests that the excessive use of hygienic practices in affluent countries and the over-prescription of antibiotics to young children early in life may be inadvertently having adverse effects on the delicate relationship shared between humans and their microbiota, thereby interfering with the normal development of the immune system and resulting in abnormal immune responses to common allergens. In agreement with this hypothesis, recent work in our lab has identified four bacterial genera that are reduced in abundance in the feces of children who go on to develop asthma as compared to healthy children in a Canadian birth cohort. Using humanized mouse models, I will elaborate on this work and further characterize the influence of these microbes on asthma susceptibility and on understanding the mechanisms through which these microbes influence the development of the immune system early in life.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I have always looked to UBC as one of the top schools in Canada, both in terms of its medical school and the cutting edge world-renowned research taking place here in my field of interest. This, combined with my love of the weather and lifestyle of Vancouver made my decision to study at UBC a no-brainer. I know that a degree at UBC will provide me with the foundation I need to be able to pursue the career that I am striving towards. Moreover, the MD/PhD program at UBC is unique in that it provides outstanding financial support to students in the program and affords the opportunity to work with world-class mentors and alongside some of the best students in the country.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
In my free time, I enjoy playing soccer, running, hiking, and enjoying all that Vancouver has to offer!
I know that a degree at UBC will provide me with the foundation I need to be able to pursue the career that I am striving towards.