For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to pursue a career in medicine. In high school, I found satisfaction in understanding how chemicals interact with one another and how our bodies can be affected by different compounds. So, I decided to pursue my undergraduate studies in pharmacy. Of all the subjects, pharmacology and medicinal chemistry greatly fascinated me. I enjoyed learning about the effects and modes of action of different drugs. My interest in further expanding my pharmacology knowledge drew me back to school and powered the rest of my post-graduate education including my master’s degree in Computational Drug Design and my PhD in Pharmacology where I focused on utilizing my knowledge to computationally design and chemically synthesize novel antivirals.
My wife and I first met each other at a student-organized music night at UBC, so this has to count as my favourite moment. A ski trip to Whistler with my supervisor and grabbing a bite to eat in the middle of a busy day with my friends at the Patient Park behind UBC Hospital make up my other most memorable experiences.
Postgraduate study and research can sometimes be challenging and to be able to persevere through tough times one needs to know how to celebrate the little victories along the way and to learn from every failure. Each of those mishaps in research is indeed an integral part of the process and path to success.
Every year millions of people are affected — and hundreds of thousands of lives are taken —by the influenza virus. Mutations in viruses have rendered the current therapeutic options ineffective against the circulating strains of seasonal and pandemic influenza viruses. My PhD dissertation focused on uncovering a new class of antivirals that are chemically distinct from the current treatments and are capable of inhibiting both wild-type and mutant influenza viruses. Additionally, through computational studies, we found that the same compounds can inhibit a similar viral target in the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The findings in my thesis can aid the design and development of novel antivirals against seasonal and pandemic viruses.
Following the completion of my PhD program, I plan on continuing my career as the managing pharmacist of one of the Lower Mainland’s biggest pharmacies and aim to continue to provide the highest standards of care to our patients. In the next year or two, I plan to apply to the UBC Pharmacy Residency program to gain the skills and training needed to pursue a future career as a hospital pharmacist.