I’m Elizabeth, a PhD candidate in Steven Reynolds’ lab. I was born and graduated high school in South Africa. After coming to Vancouver, I did a BSc. in Biology at UBC and a Business Diploma in Hotel/Restaurant management and then opened up a travel agency with my Mom. After 7 years in travel, I decided to change careers completely and completed my Respiratory Therapy training at Thompson Rivers University. I have worked as a Respiratory Therapist at Royal Columbian Hospital since 2009 and got involved in clinical research early on. My love of research brought me to work closely with my supervisor at Royal Columbian Hospital where I got involved in a number of clinical research studies focused on ventilation management. I started helping Dr. Reynolds in his pre-clinical large animal lab work and that made me fall in love with physiology studies. This lead to my pursuing a PhD under Dr. Reynolds at SFU in BPK.
What you do?
We manage critically ill patients by putting them on a ventilator (life support) in order to be able to support them while we treat their illness. I am investigating the use of new technology developed at SFU as a method to help us reduce ventilator induced lung injury and allow us to develop new ventilation methods to help improve outcomes and lesson the burden on our health care system. I work in human-sized pigs who are mechanically ventilated in a mock ICU for up to 50 hours. I have learned more about being a pig ICU doctor than I ever expected to know in my lifetime.
Any advice you would give to starting graduates?
Don't feel bad that you don't know everything or that you feel like sometimes you don't know anything. You are not expected to!! You will learn everything you need to go and have faith in yourself because you really can do it! Divide everyone up into pieces and when you are overwhelmed, look at the next piece that you need to deal with, rather than all the bits sitting in front of you that can be overwhelming.
What’s your favourite movie of all time?
Love actually (cheesy I know :))
This post was originally posted to the SFU BPK Instagram on March 9, 2021.