Ash Larnder

The gut microbiome and hormone receptor-positive female breast cancer
CIHR Doctoral Research Awards
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

My previous experience with an international non-profit and in harm reduction first got me interested in public health. I previously thought being a doctor was the main way to be involved in health, but I realized there are so many more systemic level-ways to get involved, so I knew I wanted to learn more in this area. When I was backpacking Mount Assiniboine I ran into a virologist who told me that if he could go back in time he would do epidemiology. He was a pretty cool guy, so I took his advice and applied to epi programs.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

Coming out of the pandemic, I wanted to stay closer to my family. And the mountains of course - it was too hard to leave them. UBC is a beautiful campus by the ocean. My program has a lot of great health scientists in the province, so it's a good opportunity to learn from them.

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

Getting to be involved in a lot of different areas of health. I have co-supervisors with a large range of expertise, and alongside TAing for classes in infectious epi, I get to experience a lot of different aspects of public health.

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

I'm from a small town, so the diversity of Vancouver has been exciting. All the restaurants and cultures. There's so much to explore.

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

My previous work as a Research Assistant has helped me tremendously as I was able to take on my own research projects, develop my programming skills, and manage large amounts of data. Running a club at my previous university also helped me with a lot of organizational, social and leadership skills.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

Definitely salsa dancing ... and getting lost in a good book.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Just take it one step at a time.


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