Samantha Grist

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This student profile has been archived and is no longer being updated.

Optical oxygen sensors for 3-D microfluidic cell culture
Dr. Karen Cheung, Dr. Lukas Chrostowski
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

During my undergraduate degree I was fortunate to have been exposed to several research environments during my co-op program and undergraduate thesis. As a part of this experience, I found that I greatly enjoyed investigating and solving the novel problems inherent in research. Learning is a big part of my life, and graduate school provides me with the opportunity to continue to learn and investigate new problems in a research setting.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC's high ranking and beautiful location, the exciting interdisciplinary Microsystems and Nanotechnology group, and the opportunity to work with my supervisors all played key roles in my decision to choose UBC. My supervisors, Dr. Karen Cheung and Dr. Lukas Chrostowski, gave me the unique opportunity to join both a group focused on optics and photonics and a group focused on biomedical microdevices, combining my two main research interests into an ideal project.

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

The best surprise about graduate life for me was the opportunity to take a wide range of interesting and hands-on courses relating to the different aspects of my research (and also audit classes outside of my background in order to gain context for my project); coming into graduate school, I had anticipated taking more rigidly set, required courses.

What do you hope to accomplish with your research?

It is my hope that over the course of my research I will create tools that will enable medical researchers to better test potential cancer treatments prior to the clinical trial stage. This would ideally permit faster development of therapeutics and fewer problems at the clinical trial stage of drug development.

What has winning a major award meant to you?

Apart from being a tremendous honour, winning a major award has provided me with the opportunity to focus more on my research. Being recognized for my past achievements also further inspires me to succeed in my graduate program - I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to try to live up to the award!

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

While graduate school will likely take up the vast majority of your time, taking short breaks to hike in the lower mainland's forests, walk the Stanley Park seawall, or get involved in a group or activity can help you work more efficiently. I have also found auditing courses outside of my department to be invaluable in gaining a broader understanding of where my research fits in.