Relevant Degree Programs
Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!
- Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
- Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Requirements" or on the program website.
- Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
- Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
- Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
- Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
- Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
- Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
- Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
- Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
- Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
- Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
- Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
- Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
- Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.
Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
No abstract available.
Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Cyclin dependent kinases (CDKs) are components of signal transduction pathways that regulate cellular functions by phosphorylation of substrate proteins in response to upstream signals. The kinase domains of CDK12 and CDK13 are most similar to CDK9; CDK9 phosphorylates the C terminal domain (CTD) of RNA Polymerase II in order to stimulate processive transcription elongation. However, while most human CDKs consist of little more than a kinase domain, CDK12 and CDK13 are much larger and have several protein-protein interaction domains suggesting that they could participate within regulatory cascades. They also have a RS domain found in the SR protein family of splicing factors. Consistent with these features CDK12 and CDK13 co-localize with splicing factors and RNA Polymerase II in nuclear speckles. Based on these features CDK12 and CDK13 have been proposed to coordinately regulate splicing and transcription. Consistent with this hypothesis, both kinases phosphorylate the CTD of RNA polymerase II and regulate the alternative splicing of the Adenovirus E1a mini-gene model substrate. CDK12 has been found to interact with the splicing factors PRP19, CDC5L, RBM25, FBP11 and SRP55. Due to the similarity of CDK13 to CDK12, I investigated the interacting partners of CDK13 by immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry and determined that CDK13 interacts with same splicing factors as CDK12. These interactions were validated by immunoprecipitation – western blot analysis. My results also indicated that PRP19 and CDC5L interact as a complex with CDK13. Therefore, the protein interaction partners of CDK13 and CDK12 suggest functional mechanisms for their ability to regulate splicing. In parallel projects, to begin investigating the functional roles of the kinase domain of CDK12 I constructed and expressed different CDK12 mutants in insect cells and in mammalian cells. Also to investigate the role of the CDK12 mutants and the protein-protein interactions of CDK13 in alternative splicing, I also developed a PCR based E1A mini-gene splicing assay.