Discovering and understanding clues that lay hidden in plaque may not appeal to the average person, but UBC alumna Dr. Marlys Koschinsky has devoted her research to studying certain lipoproteins to determine how they contribute to atherosclerosis. More specifically how apolipoprotein(a) actually interferes with the ability of the body to break down blood clots. Her research is important to the potential development of new drugs that will reduce the risk associated with having high blood levels of lipoprotein.
Dr. Koschinsky received her PhD from UBC and spent countless hours in the research lab under the supervision and mentorship of Dr. Ross MacGillivray. Today she speaks in the highest terms about her time at UBC, particularly the mentoring she received which she believes was critical to setting her on her own successful career path. Creating a work environment rooted in respect, support and collaboration is a cornerstone of her own success and what she believes is essential to achieve the best outcomes in any field.
From this experience at UBC Faculty of Medicine, her career continued to progress. She did her post-doctoral work in the United States and then went on to teach at Queen’s University where she was the first female research professor in biochemistry. She is currently the Dean of Science at the University of Windsor.
Marlys found the move from research to Dean of Science a welcome challenge. She had taken on administrative roles at Queen’s, but the unique opportunity and scope of the Dean’s position was a draw that she couldn’t resist. Having to transition into thinking and leading in other areas of science outside of her own sphere of study has it challenges but also its rewards. It has allowed her to be creative and link the various areas of science and research together to create interdisciplinary projects that are stimulating for the students and applicable for society. This includes the continued building of a health research focus that brings together areas of natural and life sciences as well as a dynamic new undergraduate program in Health Sciences that is currently under development.
In fact, that is part of what she finds so rewarding about her current position, getting people to work and collaborate together. Marlys is very proud of the quality of the undergraduate and graduate programs at the Faculty of Science and derives a great deal of satisfaction from improving the student experience and helping all reach their full potential.
Similar to UBC, the University of Windsor is part of a distributed medical school, based out the University of Western Ontario. This was another aspect of what drew her to the Dean’s position. The opportunity for partnerships and collaboration between the research departments in Science and the medical school has enormous potential.
When asked if she still continues to do research, her response was “of course, I would never give up research; it is fundamental and core to who I am”. Working with students, collaborating with colleagues, and exploring new possibilities in the lab mirrors what she enjoys most in her role as Dean of Science. In each role, questions are essential and learning from others is a joy.
If you would like to more information on Dr. Koschinsky’s research in cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis and lipoproteins, please visit her webpage by following the links to People>Faculty.
Written by Marisa Moody