Trainee at GlycoNet: Brendan Snarr

Posted: June 1, 2018

Where do you work, what is your position and who is your supervisor?

I am a PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr. Don Sheppard at McGill University in Montréal.

Which project do you work on?

I am involved in our work on glycoside hydrolases, in collaboration with Dr. Lynne Howell’s lab at SickKids in Toronto, but currently my primary project is studying the contribution of galectin-3 in the host response against fungal infections, in close collaboration with Dr. Sachiko Sato’s lab at Université Laval.

If you have previously attended the AGM/Symposium, what was your experience?

I attended the AGM/Symposia of 2016 and 2018 and they were great! My thesis projects are quite diverse, so the Symposium offers a unique opportunity to see and interact with both of my close collaborators at the same event. And the trainee committee and activities at the Symposium are second to none; it is a very welcoming and collegial atmosphere, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I am currently wrapping up my PhD, and in the early stages of looking for a post-doctoral position. I would like to pursue a project involving innate immunity, but in terms of a specific focus or where, I am currently undecided.

What does glycomics mean to you?

When I think about macromolecules, particularly enzymes, I am so fascinated by their complexities. Enzymes have evolved to have different domains, catalytic efficiency, substrate selectivities, etc. Since the learning is endless, there’s always something new to discover in both research and other aspects of life. What this says to me, is to live a life driven by curiosity.

Based on your experience what advice would you give to junior trainees?

Always keep an open mind. Great opportunities can present themselves in the most unassuming of ways, so it is often worth pursuing those obscure side projects. It is also equally important to make time for yourself away from the lab, to maintain a healthy life balance. Great relationships and collaborations are more often forged at the bar rather than at the bench, so do not underestimate the value of departmental social events.

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