After graduating from the joint Biotechnology program at UBC and BCIT in 2008, Mark McCabe began work for the BC Center for Disease Control (BCCDC) Public Health Laboratory (PHL). His involvement in communicable disease surveillance and outbreak response with the PHL inspired him to pursue a Master of Public Health at UBC. He is now an epidemiologist or “disease detective” with th e BCCDC Communicable Disease Prevention and Control team, where he contributes to efforts to reduce rates of antimicrobial resistance in the province, and monitors travel-related diseases in BC such as Zika virus. He will soon begin training as a federal Field Epidemiologist, travelling to the front lines of where outbreaks and public health emergencies are happening to support control and response.
The Biotechnology program strongly influenced Mark’s career development. With its challenging and well-rounded curriculum, an abundance of practical experience through labs and co-op placements, and opportunities to develop essential professional skills such as networking and collaboration, Mark believes the experience helped shape his personality, skills, confidence, and leadership. Having so much hands-on training helped separate him and his abilities from competing students from other programs.
Mark has always had an interest in working with microbes, and exposure to the different areas of biotechnology allowed him to recognize his passion to work in public health minimizing the impact of pathogens in the population. The joint Biotechnology program provided him with the strong foundation and confidence to pursue his desired career path.