Career Night 2019

The Centre for Blood Research, in collaboration with the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, invites you to Career Night, an event for undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and research associates to network with professionals in a range of life sciences industries.

Event Information:

Date: Thursday, June 13, 2019
Time: 5:30-7:30 PM
Location: Life Sciences Centre West Atrium (2350 Health Sciences Mall)


  • Registration: 5:00 PM – 5:30 PM
  • Speed Mentoring Roundtables: 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Networking: 6:30 PM-7:30 PM

Light refreshments will be provided. This is a professional event, so we encourage you to dress appropriately (business-casual).

For further information & questions about the event, please contact or

Registration is now closed.

Mentor Information:

Click on the mentor name to learn more about them.

Kate Campbell, M.Sc.
Senior Instructional Designer, UBC Continuing Professional Development, Faculty of Medicine

Kate Campbell has a background in both science and art. She has completed a Bachelor of Science in Biology, formal fine art training from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and a Master of Science in Biomedical Communications from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine. Working as a professional biomedical communicator, Kate has experience creating unique and informed visualizations and interactive tools that help individuals better understand, communicate, and teach medical and science topics. Her experience includes textbook illustrations and journal figures, science and medical animations, medical websites, and interactive eLearning modules. As the Senior Instructional Designer at UBC CPD, Kate designs online courses and educational material that translates the knowledge of subject matter experts into visually rich and interactive digital media for healthcare practitioners across the province.

Alex Chattwood, Ph.D.
Education Manager, Genome BC's Geneskool Program

As a scientist, Alex studied a slime mold called Dictyostelium discoideum. He studied differentiation and developmental genetics in the lab of Christopher Thompson at Manchester University, completing his PhD in 2010. He then moved to Gerry Weeks’ lab in the Microbiology & Immunology department at UBC to study the role of Ras proteins in cell movement. He published a couple papers but was never all that successful in academics. Leaving slime mold behind in 2013, Alex set off on a journey into informal education with science centres. With 3 years at Telus World of Science Edmonton and Science World British Columbia, it’s fair to say that seeing people learn has become his favourite thing, watching how people learn his hobby and realizing learning science is a force for community good a revelation. Alex now manages Genome BC’s Geneskool program, combining his old love of genetics with a new love of communicating science to high school students and teachers throughout the province.

Deborah Chen, Ph.D.
Educational Developer: Teaching and Learning Professional Development, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, UBC

Throughout her PhD, Deb volunteered at the Vancouver Crisis Centre, worked as a Graduate Facilitator at the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT), and occasionally taught as a guest lecturer at Columbia College and the UBC Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Sciences program. In her current role as an educational developer at CTLT, she collaborates with faculty and staff to create pedagogically informed and process-driven classrooms. She provides consultations, coordinates CTLT Institutes programming, develops resources to support professional and capacity development, as well as facilitates processes and workshops designed to improve teaching and to enhance student learning. She is also a coach who partners with individuals, groups, and teams to explore, discover, and design pathways towards intentional success. When she is not working, she loves to run, read, cook, and garden.

Simon Cowell, Ph.D.
Chemistry Section Head, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Burnaby Laboratory

Simon joined CFIA in November 2018 after 10 years with Health Canada in the BC food safety laboratory. Prior to Health Canada he enjoyed working for 2 years at the Vancouver Biotech QLT, and before that for 3 years as a Post-doc at the Vancouver Prostate Centre. He has a PhD in Biology from the University of Victoria, studying endocrine toxicology of environmental contaminants. His MSc, also from UVic, involved the characterisation of a receptor for a bacterial protein toxin. Simon grew up in the UK and moved to Canada in 1993 after graduating from the University of Bath with a BSc in Biochemistry. Outside of work he enjoys life on the West Coast especially exploring on foot or by bicycle.

Prashant Kumar, Ph.D.
Instructor, Langara college

I completed my PhD in the field of antibiotics/antimicrobial peptides under the co supervision of Dr. Suzana Straus (Chemistry, UBC) and Dr. Jay kizhakkedathu (Centre for blood research, UBC). I was blessed to get a job at Langara College during the last two years of my PhD studies and I have worked there full time since graduating in 2018. In addition to teaching core 1st year biology and 2nd year biochemistry courses, I am also the research chair of the Biology department, continuing the research work on antimicrobial peptides at Langara. Many other faculty members are also involved in research. In my free time I like going for hikes, playing soccer and attending church.

David Oliver, Ph.D.
Instructor, UBC Microbiology and Immunology

David Oliver is an Instructor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UBC. Prior to coming to UBC in 2014, Dave was a manager of Product Development at Response Biomedical Corporation (2008 -2013), a Vancouver-based biotechnology company that develops and manufactures point-of-care diagnostic devices. Dave studied protein structure and function using x-ray crystallography as a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research post-doctoral fellow at Simon Fraser University (2005 – 2008). He did his doctoral work in the field of bacterial pathogenesis in the laboratory of Dr. Rachel Fernandez at UBC (1998 – 2005). At UBC, Dave has leveraged his experiences in academic and industrial research settings to drive the development of cutting-edge team-based research courses (MICB 421 and MICB 447), which includes management of the Journal of Experimental Microbiology and Immunology (JEMI). In 2017, Dave received the UBC Killam Teaching Prize.

Akshita Puri, M.Sc.
Operations Manager, Merieux Nutrisciences

Akshita is a microbiologist with a graduate degree from McMaster University where her research work focused on studying the role of microbiome in airway diseases. Post grad school, her passion for supporting innovation motivated her to continue her career in academia and she landed a job at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (formerly known as Ontario Cancer Institute), University Health Network, where she studied the role of gut microbiota in colon cancer for 4 years. After spending nearly a decade in the research sector, Akshita decided to move to the industry in 2017 and is now managing the operations of a microbiology lab at Merieux Nutrisciences. Being a results-driven individual, she found her career in the industry extremely rewarding as her day-to-day work has a tangible and measurable impact. According to her, transition from academia to industry was an easy one and although the science remains unchanged (from a technical point of view), what varies, she stresses, is the amount of pressure. Outside of work, she loves to read, spend time with her friends and family, enjoys dancing and is hoping to organize dance classes in the near future.

Ismael Samudio, Ph.D.
Senior Director R&D, Virogin Biotech Ltd.

Ismael Samudio obtained his Ph.D. in genetics from Texas A&M University (2002) and received postdoctoral training in pharmacology and toxicology at the Institute of Biotechnology in Houston. Ismael then worked as a scientist in the Section of Molecular Hematology at MD Anderson Cancer Center where he led and supported various preclinical and clinical studies on the antileukemic and antitumor effects of various targeted agents, including the recently approved BH3 inhibitor Venetoclax.

In 2015, after receiving additional training in immunotherapy at the BC cancer agency in Vancouver, Ismael was recruited to the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) to lead an immunotherapy initiative and eventually became Director of Biologics for CDRD. Ismael’s Biologics team developed several novel anti-tumor biotherapeutics, including CAR-T, antibody drug-conjugates (ADC), and functional antibodies. In 2019, Ismael assumed the role of Senior Director of R&D for Virogin where he is responsible for overseeing the development of an oncolytic virus pipeline and supporting the clinical translation of the lead program VG-161.

Marta Szabat, Ph.D.
Scientist and Project Leader, AbCellera Biologics

Marta Szabat received her BEng and BSc degrees at Western University. She moved to Vancouver to pursue a PhD in Genetics at the University of British Columbia (UBC) focusing on pancreatic beta cell biology in the field of diabetes. During her post-doctoral studies at UBC, she studied pancreatic beta cell maturation and developed high-content, high-throughput screening methods to modulate pancreatic beta cell gene expression and function. Marta joined AbCellera in 2015 as a senior scientist developing single cell screening assays for AbCellera’s antibody discovery platform. Currently, Marta leads several development and partner projects focusing on multipass membrane targets. Outside of AbCellera, Marta keeps busy with two boys and two rescue dogs, as well as keeping active at boot camp and flying trapeze classes.

Niniane Tozzi, M.A.
Head of Policy, Science and Innovation, UK Science and Innovation Network

Niniane joined the UK Science and Innovation Network (SIN) in 2016. Niniane leads on western Canada’s policy and innovation portfolios and coordinates SIN’s energy work for Canada. She previously held roles with the commercial arm of the British government at the British Consulate in Houston, legislatures and regulators in the United States, and the United Nations Development Programme. Niniane has a Master’s in Global Policy with a concentration in Natural Resource Management, and a Bachelor’s in International Relations and French.

The UK Science and Innovation Network (SIN)
SIN is an organization established by the UK Foreign Office (FCO) and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It employs science advisors at embassies and consulates around the world to facilitate international collaborations between industry, academia and research institutions. SIN advisors engage with the local science and innovation community in support of UK policy overseas & create strategic relationships to harness the value of science and innovation discoveries and investments overseas. Additionally, SIN officers serve as a resource and conduit into the UK’s science and research base for their host-country contacts.