Department of Medical Genetics Teaching Award – Dr. Wilfred Jefferies

Congratulations to Dr. Wilfred Jefferies for being this year’s UBC Department of Medical Genetics Teaching Award recipient!

This award is presented at the annual Medical Genetics Research Day. The Faculty Teaching Award alternates between a clinical and basic science faculty researcher who has excelled in their teaching duties in the Department of Medical Genetics.

Dr. Cheryl Pfeifer

Dr. Cheryl Pfeifer

Dr. Jefferies was nominated by Dr. Cheryl Pfeifer, a Research Associate in his lab. We asked Cheryl to share more details on why she nominated Dr. Jefferies and what makes him an exceptional teacher!

How long have you known and worked with him?

I have known Dr. Jefferies as a departmental colleague since 1992, and worked with him in his lab since the middle of 1999, first as a postdoctoral fellow and later as a research associate.

Why did you nominate him for the award?

Over the years, I have seen Dr. Jefferies supervise and mentor numerous undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. I have admired the respect and freedom he gives to the trainees, and the way he encourages them to seek out and discover science, to ask questions, and to work with others in the lab.  Within the lab, he has always sought to create a collaborative environment without creating an internally competitive environment.

What makes him a great teacher?

Dr. Jefferies is a great teacher because he is truly excited about science, which overflows into his teaching. He has the ability to see the big picture through all the details, and through this, helps the students learn what is important.  He fosters creative thinking and encourages looking at a problem/idea from many different angles.  Dr. Jefferies teaches in more of a coaching style where he provides main points and resources and then encourages the students to initiate their own discovery journey.  While this can initially be a source of frustration to students accustomed to a more direct style, most have embraced this freedom and have come to a greater understanding and realization of the science than they would have otherwise.

Dr. Giorgia Caspani in the Jefferies Lab also wanted to share a few words:

Dr. Giorgia Caspani

Dr. Giorgia Caspani

The award was very well-deserved. Dr Jefferies is a great mentor, teacher and researcher because he’s a fantastic out-of-the-box thinker and problem solver. Conversations with him are very stimulating and can lead to me taking research directions that I hadn’t considered before. I also appreciate that he is a good listener and seems to take away as much from these conversations as I do. – Giorgia Caspani, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Jefferies Lab

We would like to thank Dr. Jefferies for his contributions to the CBR and his dedication to teaching. Thank you for being a great teacher, leader and mentor!