Biology Graduate Student Ambassador Student Profiles

As current Biology Graduate Students, we invite prospective students to communicate with them regarding graduate studies in Biology!

From left to right:

Greg Korfanty – 1st year MSc Student – Dr. JP Xu’s Lab

Himeshi Samarasinghe – 1st year PhD Student – Dr. JP Xu’s Lab

Xiafei (Fei) Zhang – 2nd MSc student – Dr. Marie Elliot’s Lab

Greg Korfanty

Name:
• Greg Korfanty

Current Program:
• Science Msc

Lab:
• Dr. Jianping Xu

Area of specialization:
• Molecular ecology and Diversity of Aspergillus fumigatus

Location of Undergraduate/(Master) Degree Studies:
• McMaster University

Additional “interesting information” – open to ideas and suggestions?

Hobbies
• Playing video games
• Ping-pong
• Attending seminars
• Going for walks
• Reading novel articles

Your reason for choosing Biology at McMaster?:
• Since I did my undergraduate here, I found the enthusiasm within Biology faculty to be exceptional. Everyone loves what they do and I wanted to be a part of that. I loved working in Biology in my undergraduate career

Benefits of being a graduate student?
• Being able to do your own research and investigate topics that interest you.
• Graduate studies expand future career options greatly in the field of Biology and build your resume
• Travel and attend seminars/conferences where you gain and share knowledge among others from across the planet
• Obtaining a strong and social relationship between lab members and the supervisor
• The potential of discovering and adding to current scientific knowledge

Skills that you are learning? (Team-building, opportunities to present seminars, etc??? )…
• Critical thinking when reviewing literature and personal manuscripts
• Leadership during Ta jobs and volunteering
• Presentation skills during conferences and lab meetings
• Optimizing protocols within the lab
• Socializing and team-building with other lab members and those within the department

Himeshi Samarasinghe

Name: Himeshi Samarasinghe

Current Program: 1st year PhD in Biology

Lab: Xu Lab (LSB 402)

Area of specialization: Microbiology and fungal biology

Location of Undergraduate/(Master) Degree Studies: McMaster University

Your reason for choosing Biology at McMaster?
During my undergraduate studies at McMaster University, I became aware of the diverse array of biological research being conducted at McMaster. As I was mostly interested in medically-relevant microbial research, I decided to join the only lab here at Biology that studies fungal pathogens.

Benefits of being a graduate student?
It’s a great and a very enriching experience where you get to further your interest and skills in research and effective communication. You get to meet academics from other fields of research which is refreshing and can help you think about your own work from different perspectives. You also get to contribute to undergraduates’ learning by being a teaching assistant, which I find to be enjoyable and rewarding.

Skills that you are learning?
I attend several seminars/conferences a year where I present my research either through a poster or an oral presentation. These have helped me improve my communication skills, both oral and written. Being a graduate student in a lab means you are an integral part of a group of researchers that often collaborate and support each other’s work. You can also get involved in student life activities and become part a team that work to create social and academic events for the biology graduate students.

Xiafei (Fei) Zhang

Name: Xiafei Zhang

Current Program: M.Sc.

Lab: Dr. Marie Elliot, Life Science Building 323

Area of specialization: Microbiology and molecular biology

Location of Undergraduate/(Master) Degree Studies: Sichuan Normal University, China

Your reason for choosing Biology at McMaster?:

The research of the biology department at McMaster is very influential all over the world, and I’m very interested in my supervisor’s research direction. Besides, the academic atmosphere of McMaster is also another factor which contributes to my choice.

Benefits of being a graduate student?

As a graduate, I can do further research about the area I am interested in, which could help me master more skills and knowledge.

Skills that you are learning?

Firstly, teamwork plays an important role in my studying life. The discussion with my peers often gives me inspiration about my work, and the collaboration in our lab could help us achieve greater results. My presenting skill has been improved a lot since I started at McMaster through presentations and TAing courses.