Gillian Vandekerkhove

Gillian Vandekerkhove, UBC graduate student
Profiling circulating tumor DNA in metastatic bladder cancer
Alexander Wyatt
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

After completing my MSc, I decided to pause my academic career and gain some practical experience. While working as a research assistant at the Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC) my role and responsibilities evolved, providing a perfect transition into a PhD. I was encouraged by my supervisor, Dr. Wyatt, and colleagues at the VPC; their enthusiasm inspired me to continue my work as a PhD student.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I wanted to carry on with the translational genitourinary cancer research I performed while a research assistant in Dr. Wyatt’s laboratory. I chose UBC as Dr. Wyatt is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine, and for the collaborative and multidisciplinary research environment.

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

The Experimental Medicine program’s objectives were a great fit for my own goals, and they support many students whose laboratories are located off campus.

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

Having previously lived both on Vancouver Island and in downtown Toronto, I love the balance of city and nature that Vancouver has to offer.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

When I can, I try to get outside and enjoy beautiful British Columbia! After moving to Vancouver I decided to learn how to ski and have begun exploring the local mountains. In the summer, I go on multi-day backpacking trips; I find it very refreshing to be cut-off from technology and surrounded by wilderness.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Read – read often, read extensively, and read outside your area of expertise now and then.


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