Mohammadreza (Sam) Pakyari
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
Working closely with healthcare providers and patients during my medical training gave me a deep appreciation of the pivotal role of basic science research in shaping and advancing the clinical practice. I truly enjoy the satisfaction of working directly with patients, but I have also come to realize the value that high impact research can contribute to the knowledge base that reshapes the way medicine is practiced.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
UBC is undoubtedly one of the highly respected educational institutions in the world with a myriad of world-renowned academic figures in many fields of research which, by itself, is greatly appealing for any student who is seeking graduate studies opportunities. What makes the experience of studying at UBC unique is the combination and balance that is offered to a graduate student through academic exposure and as well as activities outside of university life.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
The experimental medicine program focuses on translational research. The fact that we are trying to help patients through finding a new approach or treatment or a diagnostic modality is very encouraging and exciting.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
One can start his/her weekend with hiking in the morning; skiing during the day, and enjoy the sunset on the beach with less than 15 mins drive in between, and the weather keeps surprising you all the time.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
The impact of doing translational research on improving the quality and quantity of patients lives and for me, it is the most thrilling part of being involved in problem-based research.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
I am planning to become a clinician-scientist and although these two entities have many overlaps, there are many challenges to become a researcher-clinician, as well as remaining productive over time. Keeping my research and clinical activities circumscribed within one area greatly increases the probability of achieving my career goals.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
The experimental medicine program provides a great opportunity for those who are interested in translational research and I believe that this will ultimately facilitate my transition as a clinician-scientist.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
Having been trained both in the clinical and basic science aspects of medicine gave me a deeper understanding and perspective about the nature of medical conditions and the definition of health in general.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
Being outdoors and enjoying the beauty of nature, and also playing tennis. Practicing martial arts, hanging out with friends, studying astrophysics, watching good movies.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
I think doing research in any field has two important aspects. One is being able to ask good questions and generate hypotheses. Another is learning how to troubleshoot during the course of research and doing the experiments. Both demand a lot of perseverance and stamina. As one of my professors used to say, "one could get a PhD in less than 6 months if everything was supposed to go as planned".