Reid Warsaba

Investigating the Role of a Redundant Viral Protein
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I would love to say that I have always dreamed about pursuing a PhD in science and that it was my goal since forever, but that was not the case. In university I majored in Biochemistry because I wasn’t able to get into Neuroscience. Over the years I became very involved in the biochemistry research community at McGill University in Montreal. When graduation came around, I figured I may as well stick to what I am good at and what I am interested in and decided to start applying to PhD programs. I believe the pursuit of new knowledge is a noble cause and particularly important work that needs to be done.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

Growing up in Regina, Saskatchewan, I have always been interested in living in Vancouver. The city is so alive and vibrant. It feels like a big city while still being very much involved in nature. I also had a lot of family and friends already here. In addition to the city, UBC has always ranked high on world rankings and is one of the top universities in Canada. The modern facilities at UBC really impressed me when I toured here, and the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program seemed like a fit for my interests, so I moved.

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

The facilities at UBC are beautiful and the Life Sciences Institute is a great building to do science in a collaborative environment. Being in a building surrounded by people working on similar projects who all have a passion for science really excited me. I also did my undergraduate research on RNA Biology and the lab I applied for has a focus on RNA biology.

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

The summers in Vancouver are something special. You can go to the beach during the day, enjoy a car-free day or a hike, and then soak in the liveliness of the city at night.

UBC has always ranked high on world rankings and is one of the top universities in Canada. The modern facilities at UBC really impressed me when I toured here.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

I like the research freedom I have while pursuing a PhD degree. I am excited by the fact that I can pivot my research as discoveries are made, and that I am creating knowledge for the field.

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

I was doing undergraduate research prior to coming to UBC during the summers, as well as directed studies during the year. I think having this experience in the lab prepared me for the self-motivated work that is getting a PhD.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

It’s very important to separate yourself from work because graduate school is a job. You get paid for it and it should be treated as such. Don’t let yourself stress out about work outside of working hours. Take evenings and weekends off to avoid burnout and therefore be productive while you’re in the lab.


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