Career Day


This annual event provides research graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Faculty of Medicine with the opportunity to hear from and network with professionals with advanced degrees in medicine working in a variety of different fields. The host-site for the 2020 Career Day is the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation at St. Paul’s Hospital. Dates and registration information will be posted in early 2020.

Previous Career Days


Dr. Christine Genge, is the Team Lead for Scientific Recruitment with STEMCELL Technologies. She first joined the company in the sales department and before moving to focus on bringing in talent for our teams. After completing her MSc in comparative physiology at Queen's University, Christine moved to Vancouver to pursue her PhD with the Molecular Cardiac Physiology group at Simon Fraser University. She then did a short-term Postdoctoral fellowship in the Cardiac Electrophysiology Group, also at Simon Fraser University before moving towards a role in industry.


Dr. Shirin Kalyan is an Adjunct Professor with the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, the Scientist leading the new Answer Factory at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, and the Director of Scientific Innovation at Qu Biologics, a clinical-stage Vancouver-based biotech with an innovative immunotherapy platform that uses bugs as drugs to treat immune-related diseases. She earned her PhD from the University of British Columbia in Experimental Medicine investigating the pivotal innate immune mediators of inflammation in the context of toxic shock syndrome. Dr. Kalyan was subsequently awarded a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to conduct research in Germany where she led her independent translation research program for three years at the Institute of Immunology in Kiel before returning back to Canada. Her research interests include restoring and supporting immune function in the context of cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases and understanding how drug therapies commonly used to treat chronic degenerative disorders affect immune integrity.


Dr. Allison Matthews is part of a larger, highly collaborative team which combines the expertise of clinicians, bioinformaticians and basic science researchers to help diagnose patients with rare genetics diseases. When conventional analysis is unable to find the cause of a patient's disease, the team uses whole genome and exome sequencing to search for what could be a mistake as small as one letter in the 3 billion letters that make up the genome. As a bioinformation, Dr. Matthews's role is to use computers to help sort through the data and then to apply genetics to prioritize potential causes for each patients. Dr. Matthews has a focus on disease on the X chromosome as well as patients with intellectual disability, metabolic disorders and atypical cerebral palsy.


Dr. Jenny McQueen's academic background is in biochemistry and genetics. During her PhD at the University of British Columbia, she used the common bread yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as a tool to understand how cells replicate and divide. More recently her postdoctoral work has looked at finding shared cellular pathways in both yeast and man. Her passion for science outreach has led her to her current position as program manager for an innovative and inspiring science program for teens at Science World, Future Science Leaders. She continues to imagine new ways of instructing both in the Future Science Leaders program and as a sessional instructor in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems.


Dr. Elodie Portales-Casamar has a PhD in neuroscience and post-doctoral training in bioinformatics and genomics. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the UBC Department of Pediatrics and the Clinical Research Informatics Lead at BC Children's Hospital. In this role, she helps researchers access, collect, manage, integrate, and analyze data necessary for their clinical studies, with the goal to facilitate the translation of research into improved clinical practices. Her research interests lie at the interface between health sciences, bioinformatics, and clinical research informatics focusing on methodologies to integrate heterogeneous datasets and encourage and facilitate re-use of existing data while ensuring data privacy and security.


Dr. Valerio Russo is originally from Italy where he earned a Bachelor and a Master degree in Medical Biotechnology. He then completed his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Queen's University (Kingston, ON), where he focused on cardiac regeneration using adipose-derived stem cells. He continued his training in David Granville lab at UBC, where as a Post-Doctoral fellow he investigated the roles of Granzyme B in skin blistering. Dr. Russo transitioned to the industry at the beginning of 2018 and is currently a Research Scientist at Aspect Biosystems, a Vancouver-based, award-winning 3D bio-printing company.


Dr. Tony Yang is the Program Manager of Airway Centre at Providence Health Care (PHC) and the University of British Columbia (UBC). The aim of this research cluster is to identify better diagnostics and therapies for patients in order to address the growing burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other airway conditions in BC and beyond. In this capacity, he is building a multi- and inter-disciplinary team that is dedicated to developing a) novel technologies, b) new collaborations, and c) integrated training environment with academic/industry partners. With a BSc in Physics and Life Sciences and a PhD in Bioengineering, Dr. Yang is utilizing his science, engineering, and management expertise to transform this vision into reality.

Dr. Jehannine Austin is an Associate Professor in Psychiatry & Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia, where she holds the Canada Research Chair in Translational Psychiatric Genomics. Her research work focuses on using clinical genetics to improve outcomes for people with psychiatric illnesses and includes studying the impact of genetic counseling for people with psychiatric disorders and their families. Based on her research data, she founded the world’s first specialist psychiatric genetic counseling service that has won an award for its impact on patient outcomes, and in addition to peer-reviewed publications, has written a book, and won awards for teaching, leadership, and research. She was 2016 President of the US-based, 3500 member, National Society of Genetic Counselors, and is a member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and was selected in 2017 from 3700 nominees as one of CAMHs 150 leading Canadians for mental health.


Dr. Claudia Krebs is a Professor of Teaching, Cellular & Physiological Sciences, and holds both an MD and a PhD. She has expertise in anatomy, body donation, medical education, flipped classrooms, flexible learning, neuroanatomy, and neuroscience education. As a Professor of Teaching, she focuses on giving instruction in the fields of gross anatomy and neuroanatomy for a broad range of students, including trainees in the MD undergraduate program, allied health professions, and biomedical engineering students. She is the principal author of Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews: Neuroscience and the accompanying Flashcard set.


Dr. Andrew Ming-Lum is an associate at Gowling WLG LLP, practising in the Intellectual Property and Life Science groups. Andrew assists clients in patent drafting and prosecution, with a focus on inventions in the biotechnology, immunology, molecular biology and biochemistry fields. Andrew also advises clients on other patent-related issues, such as validity, infringement and freedom-to-operate. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Andrew earned his doctorate in Experimental Medicine from the University of British Columbia, where his research led to the characterization and development of novel anti-inflammatory therapeutics. He also worked for several years in the pre-clinical pharmacology department of a Vancouver-based pharmaceutical company.


Dr. Joseph Puyat is an Assistant Professor at the UBC School of Population and Public Health and a Scientist and Research Methodologist at the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences (CHEOS). He obtained his PhD in Population and Public Health from the University of British Columbia and his previous training includes an MSc in Health Care and Epidemiology and an MA in Social Psychology. His research focuses on the use of big data analytics and linked, large health administrative databases to examine treatment and quality gaps in depression care.


Dr. Kate Smolina is the Director of the BC Observatory for Population and Public Health, a partnership between the Ministry of Health and all Health Authorities to advance non-communicable disease, injury, and risk and protective factor surveillance in BC. Prior to her current role, Kate worked as a Banting Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of British Columbia, looking at the full spectrum of factors that influence population medicine use and associated health outcomes. Her interests include chronic disease surveillance, linked administrative data, and health policy. She holds a BSc in Bio-Medical Science from the University of Guelph and a PhD in Public Health from the University of Oxford.


Dr. Grace T. Tharmarajah received her Bachelor of Science at Queen’s University in Canada. Her Honours Thesis focused used Drosophila as a genetic model. She continued her Masters at Queen’sUniversity, looking at genes that modulate aging in long-lived and short-lived animal models. Subsequently, she arrived in Vancouver, Canada to pursue her PhD at the University of British Columbia in the Department of Medical Genetics. Her projects focused on using mice to elucidate the pathways that regulate pigmentation in the context of melanomas and hypopigmented diseases, such as Vitiligo. Following her PhD, Dr. Tharmarajah was hired by Precision NanoSystems, Inc (PNI) to develop the arm of the company centred around reagents designed for molecular biologists. Initially hired as a Business Development Associate, she eventually moved into the role of a Product Manager and worked with several departments in the company to develop new products and support existing applications. A few weeks ago, she started as a Product Marketing Manager at STEMCELL Technologies.


Dr. Michelle Wong is the Senior Director, Research for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.  In this capacity, her main role involves creating and implementing high profile strategic and key pan-institution initiatives.  She leads the portfolio management and program delivery capability to enable the Faculty and University to evaluate and implement a broad range of enterprise-wide strategic initiatives.   Dr. Wong has held various senior leadership roles related to research, business development, and strategic initiatives over the last ten years.  Prior to UBC’s Faculty of Medicine, she was the Executive Director at PrioNet Canada, a successful Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE), a joint initiative of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Industry Canada.  Throughout her career, Dr. Wong has received many awards and scholarships with provincial and international distinction. Furthermore, she currently sits on many Committees and has had roles on various Board of Directors.