Meet Nazgol Seyednejad BMLSc’07 and MD’13 graduate who is now resident physician specializing in General Surgery:
A graduate of the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc) program in 2007, Nazgol’s general interest in physiology and pathology initially drew her to the program. ‘I was very interested in the program as it focused on the pathology of disease processes, through a comprehension of human biology and physiology.’ The program offered a very hands on approach, with laboratory medicine and research techniques to complement its didactic teachings. For example, ‘your readings and classroom based teachings on electron microscopy were supplemented by a project where we were able to process and prepare tissue samples, and personally use the electron microscope for imaging.’
When asked to describe what she does in her workplace, the fourth year General Surgery resident replied that she works in a dedicated multidisciplinary team composed of surgeons, residents, medical students and allied health professionals who are involved in the perioperative and operative management of patients who require surgical care, either in an acute setting or on an elective basis. A general surgeon is trained to work in many different fields of surgery and medicine extending from acute care, surgical oncology, trauma and/or intensive care. As a specialty, general surgery focuses on diseases of the head and neck and the gastrointestinal system.
Naz reflected that she feels very privileged to contribute to the care of her patients through a surgical discipline. She enjoys the fast-paced and time-sensitive nature of general surgery and treating urgent and elective cases through a combination of technical skills, clinical judgment and a comprehensive understanding of anatomy and pathology. She feels the highlight of a general surgery training is the clinical variation it offers: “at any point during your work day you may be helping resuscitate an acutely ill patient and taking them to the operating room immediately, or you may be disclosing a cancer diagnosis and helping make a long term management plan.”
Looking back at her time as an undergraduate student, Nazgol attributes the BMLSc program as an excellent preparatory program for her medical school and current training. ‘The program encompasses a strong network of faculty who are passionate about what they do and the courses they teach. They are dedicated mentors, always available and willing to talk about career paths and offer guidance.’ She feels that many of the faculty she met through the program have impacted her career path and choices.
Of special mention is Dr. David Walker, who offered Naz a research position at St. Paul’s Hospital Institute for Heart and Lung Health after completion of her degree. Dr. Walker’s profound mentorship allowed Nazgol to develop the skills to design, and execute multiple basic science research experiments. She feels that this experience has been the foundational framework of the research projects she has been involved in throughout medical school and residency, and has allowed her to appreciate the bench to bedside translational value in research. The work of her and her team members has culminated into multiple manuscripts and published in medical, surgical and oncology journals, including a publication in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Nazgol has presented her work at various conferences; receiving multiple prizes and awards for her presentations. In fact, Naz contributes her success in her presentations at conferences and teaching sessions to one of the most influential courses in her training, ‘presentations in current topics’. Led by Drs. Godolphin and Bradley in the BMLSc program, this is a course focused on providing students with the skills of effective presentations.
Naz would advise prospective and current BMLSc students that she feels this is one of the best programs at UBC, which prepares and trains students for many different career avenues. She urges students to think outside the box and take advantage of the mentorship they have access to through the program. Lastly, she would advise that the BMLSc program isn’t just for medical school or for the sciences; however it provides students with a strong background to pursue many different opportunities and paths. The program is currently led by Dr. Amanda Bradley, a personal mentor to Nazgol, and someone she holds in very high regard. “Dr. Bradley is very dedicated not only to making this the best program at UBC, but someone who has the vast amount of experience and compassion it takes to lead students to their ultimate goals. You cannot ask for a better program director.”
Reflecting on her favourite memories from the BMLSc program, Naz recalls the connections she made with her classmates. With small class sizes and a hands-on, team based approach to learning, she was able to get to know her peers on a social level, some of whom she still continues to stay close to.
As a resident physician, she has an impressive background of honours and awards, in her research work, community initiatives and her teachings. When she’s not at the hospital or on rotation, she enjoys spending time with friends and family. A self-proclaimed foodie, an item on her bucket list is to go to culinary school and open a farm to table restaurant when she retires. She enjoys staying active through snowboarding, running and traveling.