Stephanie received her PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from UBC. She trained in the Hoffman Laboratory at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, BC.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Port Coquitlam, a suburb 30 km east of Vancouver along the Fraser River. My parents always encouraged my sister and I to be active and outdoors – we both played on soccer and field hockey teams, and we often went hiking in Minnekhada Regional Park or cycling along the Traboulay PoCo Trail. We also spent most of our winters cross-country skiing at Cypress or downhill skiing in Whistler. Growing up in PoCo has taught me the value of a work-life balance and I think this is something that has helped me succeed in grad school.
What did you study in your undergrad and where?
I went to Simon Fraser University in Burnaby to study Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. In this program, I developed strong lab skills and volunteered in a variety of research labs, which also led to a successful Honours thesis project. This was a fantastic experience and was what sparked my interest in research and academia.
What got you interested in diabetes research?
After completing my undergrad I worked in a lab that studied cilia and the cell cycle in algae. While this is important basic research, I knew that I wanted to expand my skillset and use mouse models to work on research that was more relevant to human disease. It was quite serendipitous that I connected with a previous MSc student in the algae lab, Bryan Tennant, who described his exciting PhD research on islet biology and diabetes in the Hoffman lab – I was hooked!
What do you hope to achieve in 2019 with your research?
2019 has already been a very productive year for me: I successfully defended my PhD thesis in the spring and my first research article was recently accepted at Cell Reports. While I am sad to leave my extremely talented colleagues and mentors at BCCHR, I look forward to what the rest of the year brings.
What was your favourite research event/meeting to attend?
I was very fortunate to present at over 25 local or international meetings throughout my PhD training thanks to my supportive supervisor. Among these, the Keystone conference in Colorado on islet biology was definitely a highlight for me. Keystone meetings are generally smaller, the research topics are more specific and the skiing is world-class. This conference design fosters ample scientific discussion and networking, and it was there that I made very important research connections.