MD/PhD Candidate

University of British Columbia

Biography

I am an MD/PhD candidate and Vanier Scholar at the University of British Columbia. My work with Dr. Liam Brunham, Dr. John Boyd, and colleagues utilizes clinical data and genetics to understand:

  1. why people suffer from premature heart attacks, stokes, and other cardiovascular events;

  2. why people with severe infections respond differently to therapeutic treatment and risk of long-term adverse outcomes; and

  3. how metabolic traits modulate the human immune and coagulation response.

The overall goal of this work is to improve the practice of preventative medicine for metabolic and infectious illnesses which are associated with a large proportion of human morbidity and mortality.

Interests

  • Clinical and Population Genetics
  • Cardiometabolic Diseases
  • Immunometabolism

Education

  • MD/PhD Candidate in Experimental Medicine, Present

    University of British Columbia

  • MSc in Microbiology and Immunology, 2016

    The University of Western Ontario

  • BSc in with distinction in Physiology and Pharmacology, 2014

    The University of Western Ontario

Projects

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HDL and sepsis

High density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as good cholesterol and is important for regulating the ability of humans to resolve infections. Recently, we discovered that the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) plays a critical role in regulating HDL levels and clinical outcomes in sepsis. We are now working to determine the mechanism of action, assess if CETP inhibition protects from organ dysfunction and death from sepsis, and evaluate if other genetic variants in HDL-related genes influence survival from sepsis.

Inherited lipid disorders

Genetic lipid disorders can be common and are often only diagnosed after adverse cardiovascular events. This is best exemplified by the condition of familial hypercholesterolemia which affects ~1:250 people and causes extremely high levels of atherogenic low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. We aim to diagnose individuals earlier in life using genetic testing in order to facilitate prompt counseling and medical treatment. The goal of this project is to provide early prevention to reduce the risk of premature cardiovacular events ever occuring at all.

Unknown lipoprotein functions

High-density lipoprotein is commonly known as good cholesterol because it is inversely associated with risk of cardiovascular disease. However, this relationship is not causal. We are using phenome-wide association studies and Mendelian randomization to determine the physiologic and causal role that high-density lipoprotein plays in promoting human health (protection from infection, regulation of immunity, etc.).

Contact

  • Room 166, 1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z1Y6