Michael Suits - Biochemistry and Microbiology
Dr. Michael Suits is a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology. He chose UVic because of the high quality of its faculty and the research being conducted here.
Mike found that as an undergraduate and graduate student, schedules and courses are highly structured and to a large degree organized for you. As a post-doc researcher he's enjoying the amazing freedom to do science in a relatively unencumbered way - designing and conducting the experiments, analyzing the results, and writing manuscripts. Being a post-doc also provides the freedom to travel and live in new cities while conducting high quality research.
The excitement of research
When asked what he finds most exciting about his research at UVic, Mike replied, “Our research is focused on characterizing what proteins look like and regularly involves viewing their interactions with important chemical such as drugs or, in our case, carbohydrates. When you solve the structure of a protein for the first time, you are literally the first person on Earth to glimpse a unique and sometimes unexpected and elegant entity. It's an amazing feeling to have your hard work and research intuition culminate in such an amazing eureka moment right in front of your eyes on a computer monitor.”
Getting by with a little help from his friends
Mike receives daily support from family, friends and colleagues, which has kept him and his research moving forward. He believes research isn't conducted in isolation but seems to grow when it's discussed and shared. You never really know where and when inspiration will strike or how looking at a problem from another perspective will help interpretations of results and lead to development of new strategies. Daily lab discussions have introduced him to new scientific outlooks and provided support to overcome experimental obstacles.
Advice to new researchers
Mike’s advice to new researchers at UVic would be while staying in the now in the sense of enjoying your experience and research milestones, plan a year or so ahead of where you are today. That way you can keep striving toward new goals and smooth transitions between educational and professional seasons. That, and choose a strong supervisor whose research excites you, but still retains their sense of fun.