Secret Lives of CBR Researchers: Episode 3. Melanie Dostert

By Corrie Belanger, PhD Candidate, Hancock Lab

The Centre for Blood Research has many talented graduate students, postdocs and faculty doing cutting edge research in important fields, but they also have exciting lives outside of the lab. In the CBR Newsletter, we have started a column to honour the secret talents and skills that CBR members have. Last month I wrote about James’ Baylis a recent graduate of the Biomedical Engineering program and cofounder of a local biotech company. This month I would like to introduce Melanie Dostert, a talented microbiologist and musician.

Melanie Dostert

Melanie Dostert is a second year PhD student studying biofilm associated antibiotic resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. When she is not doing awesome science in the lab, Melanie spends much of her free time playing the violin in the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra (VPO). She plays “to take a break from graduate school and exercise different areas of [her] brain without the pressure for success” and she also happens to be quite talented! She has played the instrument since she was six years old, joining musical education classes as a child. When she got older, Melanie continued to play in multiple settings such as orchestra, folk bands, chamber music groups and private lessons and all this experience is evident in her playing. After taking a break from playing violin so intensively during post-secondary, Melanie is starting to get back into the swing of things and making the violin a larger part of her life again. She has started this by joining the VPO which plays five concerts in a season for the public and is a great way for her to exercise her violin skills. Playing for the VPO is a challenging but rewarding hobby as it forces her to continue to develop her skills as a musician and gives her the opportunity to present/perform publicly, something that will no doubt help her in her scientific career as well as her musical one. Luckily, Melanie’s landlady is very understanding and enjoys the pleasant sound of Melanie’s practice sessions. Other than violin, Melanie also enjoys hiking, camping and baking tasty German pastries when she is not in the lab. Though finding the time to have extracurricular involvement with the VPO and these other activities can be difficult, Melanie feels that it is necessary to make the time to do things outside of graduate school to keep good mental and physical health. Melanie is excited to get more involved in her musical career once again, and is actively pursuing more musical groups to join in the near future. So if you’re looking for a new member to join your folk band or just want someone to play with, look no further!

Melanie is just one of many exceptional graduate students in the CBR exhibiting impressive talents outside of research. If you would like to be featured in next month’s column or know someone with a talent to be showcased in the CBR newsletter email, the Education Program Manager for the CBR, Stefanie Mak (