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Pursuing a scientific career in basic research was a passion that I developed during my fourth year of undergraduate studies, when I complete an honours thesis project. This project was a pivotal experience in my career because this was when I discovered my passion for research and realized how much I enjoyed deing elegant experiments to understand interesting phenomena.

Altogether, I want to pursue a career in scientific research as an independent researcher — so I started by aiming for a PhD in science.

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I ultimately decided to study at UBC because I enjoyed the environment and mindset of the people. From speaking to the individuals in the lab, I felt that UBC is an open, accepting, and collaborative environment where advice and help is freely given.

Additionally, UBC is a melting pot of people and I was really excited for the chance to learn from the vast of brilliant professors that hail from across the globe.

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Not only does this give me the opportunity to learn from experts in many fields, it also challenges me to see the connections between all the research projects. Additionally, the diversity in the program fosters collaborations between trainees because there will surely be someone that can help you solve your challenges.

What surprised me most about Vancouver what how accessible the outdoors is. Part of the reason I was excited to come to UBC was to be able to experience the mountains — but I had close to zero experience hiking. When I started looking into hikes, I realized that there are so many resources for beginners. I have also thoroughly enjoyed all the artisanal ice-cream shops in the city…. This is a student-led initiative where once a month, a group of trainees will present their most recent research.

This event gives everyone the opportunity to see the variety of research in the CELL program and also allows you to meet your peers in a stress-free and social setting. My biggest challenge will likely be to empower female scientists. Traditionally, women interested in STEM careers face visible and invisible obstacles that prevent them from pursuing their goals.

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As such, I want to be a role model and advocate for females in my field that can mitigate challenges that we may face. Specifically, I have powerful female role models that have overcome the challenges to opening their own labs and they also push me to achieve my career goal of becoming an independent researcher.

Ever since I wasI have balanced various extracurricular activities such as music, sports teams, and community leadership with schoolwork. As such, I learned how to allocate my time and use my time effectively and efficiently. I like to start my mornings early with some sweaty, hot yoga.

My main piece of advice for new graduate students is: to be kind to yourself. When you first begin, you look at the senior students around you and think about how much knowledge and know-how they have. But you need to remember that those senior students started where you did and it took time and practice to improve.

So be kind and patient with yourself as you learn. In all animals, stored fat is an important source of energy to fuel physical activities, chemical reactions in the body, and reproduction. One important factor that determines how much fat an animal stores is whether that animal is male or female. Often, females store more fat than males, and break it down more slowly. My work as a PhD candidate aims to discover the metabolic effectors that contribute to creating the sex differences in fat storage and fat breakdown.

Using Drosophila the common fruitflyI have discovered that one gene, triglyceride lipase brummer bmmis a key determinant of sex differences in fat storage and fat breakdown. Specifically, bmm works by having male-biased effects in two cell-types, the neurons and the gonad, which were ly unrecognized as playing a role in regulating whole-body fat British Columbia fat girls sex. Additionally, bmm has a mammalian equivalent called Adipose Triglyceride Lipase ATGLwhich is currently being tested as a potential therapeutic target for treating metabolic diseases.

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My work in Drosophila suggests that treatments to block ATGL function are likely to only impact males, while having little to no effect in females. Therefore, to determine if our findings in Drosophila transfer to a mammalian system, I started collaborations with Dr. Timothy Kieffer and Dr. Susanne Clee to translate my PhD work into a mouse model. By identifying genes that cause the sex differences in fat storage and fat breakdown, we are taking the first step to developing more precise treatments to tackle metabolic disease in men and women. Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Graduate School.

Lianna Wat. Research topic Understanding how females and males store and metabolize fat differently. Faculty Faculty of Medicine. Research supervisor s Elizabeth Rideout.

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Home town Toronto. Country Canada. Raymond A. Pederson Prize in Physiology. Other Stories. Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree? Why did you decide to study at UBC? What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you? What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver? What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity? What do you see as your biggest challenge s in your future career? How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program? What do you like to do for fun or relaxation? What advice do you have for new graduate students? View More Student Stories. Learn more about Lianna's research In all animals, stored fat is an important source of energy to fuel physical activities, chemical reactions in the body, and reproduction. Review Application Steps.

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