Vaishnavi Sridhar

Investigating the role of putative lipid transport proteins at ER-PM membrane contact sites

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

As a child, I went for nature walks and bird watching trips with my family. This got me interested in biology and I wanted to study more about the workings of nature. In high school, I got exposed to the amazing world of molecular biology and wanted to pursue it further. I joined a basic science research institute in India, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Mohali for an Integrated MS. Working in different labs during my Integrated MS made me realize my interest in Cell Biology and I decided I wanted to learn how different materials are transported within cells and its applications. My interest in molecular and cell biology led me to pursue a PhD.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

When I was applying for PhD programs, there were a few main things I was looking for: A lab working on my area of interest, an amazing supervisor and lab environment, a great University allowing for academic, personal and professional development, a good funding package (it is hard to fund your PhD all by yourself), a friendly cosmopolitan city with great weather. UBC had it all, hence I decided to pursue my PhD at UBC.

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

The Cellular and Developmental Biology (CELL) Program aligned with my research interests. It offers great opportunities to develop scientific connections via retreats and other networking events. Moreover, there is an opportunity to collaborate and gain experience from people working on diverse research topics.

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

The best surprise was how beautiful the city and the campus are. There is so much to explore.

What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

I look forward to developing personally, academically and professionally. I look forward to learning more and more and networking with more and more people.

What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?

I have been a student thus far. The biggest challenge will be stepping into the professional realm.

How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?

Working on my research project has improved my time management, organizational, writing and presentation skills. Volunteering for different science outreach organizations, mentoring students and attending G+PS workshops have improved my leadership skills. Events organized by the CELL Program have given me an opportunity to network.

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

A great support system in the form of my family, experiences thus far and enthusiasm to learn has prepared me for my UBC Graduate Program.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

I like to cook, take walks around the campus, meet up with friends and visit different attractions around the city.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Never stop learning and exploring. Throughout your graduate degree, you will learn so much about yourself, about how strong and resilient you are. Never miss an opportunity to develop new skills, connections and yourself as a person. Try to make use of all the wonderful resources UBC has to prepare yourself for the future.