Kevin Mehr

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Development of high-throughput functional metagenomic screens for glycosyltransferases
Stephen Withers

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I did a research project in my final year of undergraduate school and loved it so much that I decided to keep going. Also, I've always wanted to go as far as I can academically before settling into a career.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I love living in BC. I was born here and I have grown up here, so I'll stay as long as they let me.

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

Mostly the independence with my research work was a great/challenging surprise for me. UBC has a lot to get involved with, which has kept me busy. Vancouver has more fun things to do than I ever expected.

What do you hope to accomplish with your research?

I hope to identify new families of glycosyltransferases while discovering more about the sugar metabolism within specific environments. With the development of these screens, I can also apply the same technology to perform directed evolution of enzymes of desired activities to create biotechnologically useful enzymes.

What has winning a major award meant to you?

It was a really nice validation of the effort I have put into my work. It also motivates me to make sure I continue to work at the level expected by my award.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Make it a mission to appreciate something great about Vancouver every weekend. There's so much to do here, so make the best of it before you have to leave.