Uche Joseph Ogbede
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
My decision to go for a graduate degree was made long before the commencement of my undergraduate program at FUTO Nigeria. This was born from the premise that to be a good scientist, it’s imperative that I acquire and develop the necessary research skills and knowledge, and I was sure that a PhD degree would help actualize it.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I chose UBC because it is a research-intensive institution that provides a stimulating academic environment where I can acquire and develop excellent skills necessary to achieve my career goal. Besides, I have always been attracted to best global universities, and UBC being in the top 30 and in one of my favorite cities, Vancouver, captured my interest. So I was convinced that having the privilege to experience UBC’s culture and innovative research will empower me to truly become a world-changer.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
I have been passionate about the genome and how to make sense of the huge amount of information it contains. However, having a passion is one thing, and choosing a graduate program that can make that dream come true is another. The ‘technology’ in GSAT first caught my attention because it meant that I was going to be trained in the field of genomics, and to be able to apply high throughput technologies in the field. My interest grew stronger upon realizing the transdisciplinary nature of the GSAT program, as I was of the opinion that the contemporary science should be more of a forum where researchers from related fields can collaborate in order to address pressing scientific questions. So here I am today, enjoying the program and all it can offer.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
Frankly, UBC exceeded my expectation in terms of research and learning facilities. Its a serene and conducive environment that greatly challenges me to be innovative. The layout of the campus is amazing. In addition, life in Vancouver is fulfilling, with a lot of beaches, international cuisines, and other recreational activities such as hiking.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
I am enjoying the way I have immersed myself in the application of high throughput technologies. My lab is extensively involved with the use of such technologies in investigating drug-gene relationships, using budding yeast as a model organism. It has also facilitated my research approach, ensuring that my research questions can be addressed with confidence. In addition, I enjoy the flexibility of my graduate program which allows me to choose whatever course that I feel meets my interests.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
The major challenge will be lack of an adequate computational skill. It’s becoming clearer now that, to be a successful life scientist, a sound computational and statistical knowledge is paramount.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
I feel very good that students are advised to register for courses such as GSAT540 that provide the necessary statistical background. In addition, we are also encouraged to learn Python, R, and other programming languages.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
The MSc training I received from Glasgow developed my independent thinking, scientific writing, and communication skills, which have remained all-important to my present graduate study at UBC.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I play and watch soccer during my leisure time. I also watch TV, and read the news.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Prepare your mind, set a target, get ready for rewarding opportunities, and network with people you meet. Importantly, be inspired by a purpose.