A graduate from the UBC-BCIT joint Biotechnology program, Dr.Maria J Aristizabal is currently working at the laboratory of Dr. Michael S. Kobor’s Lab at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics (CMMT).
Following the completion of her Doctoral degree in Genetics in February 2015, Maria now independently conducts her own post-doctorate research focused on the molecular mechanisms of gene expression regulation using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model organism. As a graduate from the Biotechnology program, Maria is equipped with lab skills that she would not had gotten anywhere else. Maria also emphasizes the importance of remaining knowledgeable – you have to constantly read up-to-date literature to understand your research question and know the most recent advances in your field.
At least once a year she also gets the opportunity to attend scientific conferences. She has travelled to Italy and Aruba, where she enjoyed the opportunity to share ideas and exchange knowledge with other researchers around the world. Co-op experiences played a key role in Maria’s career path. Maria did her second co-op at CMMT and decided to continue working there after graduation because “the training environment is fantastic and the research community is very vibrant.” Before her 8 month co-op at CMMT, Maria also had a co-op experience at H.E.A.L. which focused on herbal medicine and its standardization. Grabbing all the valuable co-op experiences she could get before graduation, her last position was in at the University of California San Francisco in a laboratory working on mapping genetic interaction. Maria emphasizes that reference letters from her co-op positions were key to securing future employment positions. Maria suggests Biotech students if interested should not hesitate to apply to co-op positions abroad because they are excellent opportunities to travel and expand your social network.