Abhinav Kumar Checkervarty
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I have always enjoyed learning new skills and solving complex problems. During my research project as an undergraduate student, I developed my first tool to solve a biology-based problem which motivated me to continue as a researcher. So, I decided to expand my knowledge in the field of bioinformatics and pursue a Ph.D. degree. Furthermore, the acquired skills and network as a graduate research student are applicable to diverse career opportunities.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
UBC is one of the top research institutions with Faculties comprised world-renowned professors and scientists. The governing aspect of my preference to study here was the supervision of Dr. Scott J. Tebbutt at the University of British Columbia’s Centre of Heart Lung Innovation (HLI). The Tebbutt laboratory has done some influential work in omics-based biomarker and signature identification for multiple respiratory disorders and neonatal vaccine response. My research interest in bioinformatics and vaccinology aligned with Tebbutt laboratory’s ongoing research projects, thus contributing to my ultimate decision of choosing UBC for my Ph.D. degree.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
The opportunity to learn and work with leading experts in the field of experimental medicine, immunology and bioinformatics attracted me to the program. Being in this program and the Tebbutt research group, I can be a part of interdisciplinary collaborations and large-scale research projects
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
The landscape of Vancouver is absolutely breathtaking. The outdoor activities one can indulge in, from biking on roads to hiking and skiing on the mountains to enjoying the ocean is an added bonus. I came here in the challenging times of a pandemic, but the kind treatment I received from the residents was a humbling experience.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
My post-secondary studies and past research experience helped me in preparing for the different steps and challenges of the UBC graduate program. Another factor that helped me persevere throughout my academic career is the unconditional support from my family.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I enjoy bike rides, kickboxing and trying new physical pursuits. While at home, listening to music or watching videos/web series is my idea of relaxation.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
1) Setbacks are a part of life, but for hard times, I have a guiding quote which I would like to share “The obstacles in life are not some walls that you can’t penetrate, but just some extra distance that you have to cover.” So just keep on trying and you will reach your aim. 2) Also, I think to overcome the habit of procrastination and be consistently productive, you have to mix your work time with fun and relaxing activities.