We chat with MD/PhD candidate, Mark Trinder (Class of 2023), and ask him to share his advice for aspiring researchers!
Tell us about your research interests
My work utilizes genetics to understand:
1) Why people suffer from premature heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events.
2) Why people with severe infections respond differently to therapeutic treatment and risk of long-term adverse outcomes.
3) How metabolic traits modulate the human immune and coagulation response.
The work aims to identify risk factors for disease, mechanisms of pathology, and drug-targets for therapy. 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.
What does a typical day look like while working on your project?
This varies widely. Lately, I am spending a lot more time on the computer planning experiments, analyzing data, and writing manuscripts. I also do work in the wet lab, which involves performing experiments with cells and occasionally animals.
What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your work?
My favourite project-related memories are drinking a nice single-malt scotch with friends to celebrate a chapter of a project being accepted for publication as a scientific paper. This always tends to lead into conversations about hypothetical future scientific endeavours, which is the most fun.
What advice would you give other students interested in getting more involved with research?
1) Take initiative of your project and what you want to get out of the experience.
2) The broad qualities of being curious, comfortable with the unknown, and patient are critical to any line of scientific inquiry. Therefore, choose a research topic that you are interested in and that has the potential to make a difference to that field.
3) Research can be very myopic. Read widely and don’t forget to take time to step back from your work. This helps one see the forest among the trees.
What are your research and career aspirations?
My short-term research goal is to complete my doctoral thesis. My long-term research goal is to be a clinician-scientist working in the field of cardiac critical care and medical genetics. I am optimistic that advances in genetics will help advance the practice of preventative medicine from predominately focusing on secondary prevention to primary prevention (i.e. preventing adverse events, such as a heart attack, before they occur rather than reoccurring).