Yundi Wang

 
Cardiac delayed rectifier potassium channels
David Fedida
Calgary
Canada
 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

Being in an environment where I am constantly challenged to think critically and creatively about problems no one has previously found a solution for is what intrigues me about research. A graduate degree not only challenges me on these aspects but grants me the opportunity to actively work with my hands and engage in conversations with an incredibly hardworking and inspirational scientific community from across the world.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

During my undergraduate degree, I conducted research in the area of calcium signaling and its important role in excitation-contraction coupling in the heart. Beyond calcium, both potassium and sodium channels are also critical in maintaining normal heart rhythm. I was interested in learning about complementary channels to the one I studied during my undergraduate degree and henceforth found my supervisor who examines the cardiac delayed rectifier potassium channel, IKs, using electrophysiology (whole-cell and single-channel recordings) – a technique used diversely throughout multiple disciplines namely cardiovascular and neuroscience research. Beyond my research interest, what also factored into my decision to study at UBC is my incredibly supportive supervisor. My supervisor has, throughout my degree, gone above and beyond to challenge me and help me grow as both an individual and a researcher.

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

UBC’s Neuroscience program not only ranks amongst the top 35 in the world and within the top 3 in Canada but is also home to numerous world-class faculty researchers. Having the opportunity to connect, learn and be taught by them is an incredible privilege.

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

The campus and city are every bit as breathtaking and beautiful as the pictures on the internet show. Even if you do not have time to explore Vancouver, there are plenty of gardens and museums to explore on campus – the Rose Garden, Museum of Anthropology and Nitobe Memorial garden to name a few.

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

During my undergraduate degree, I volunteered and worked in various labs where I was able to learn many basic laboratory skills such as cell culture, DNA preparation and site-directed mutagenesis which I use even today during my graduate degree. As well, staying actively involved in both the university and the local community through a number of different volunteer positions and societies have also helped develop my communication and organizational skills as well as connected me with opportunities to explore my research interests.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

I have always enjoyed working with my hands either through drawing, painting, or playing the piano.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

The first semester in a new city or maybe even a new country will be challenging. Give yourself both the time and space to adjust to a new lifestyle. Find a hobby you enjoy doing and remember to a) not only build your network and connections that will further your career but, b) also have fun and form meaningful and life-long friendships with those you meet.