2020 Killam Postdoctoral Fellow Research Prize recipient Dr. Ryan Hoiland is exploring how to mitigate the injurious influence of reduced oxygen levels (i.e. hypoxia) within the central nervous system (brain & spinal cord).
My research investigates how to mitigate the injurious influence of reduced oxygen levels (i.e. hypoxia) within the central nervous system (brain & spinal cord). This includes: 1) investigating the pathophysiology of hypoxic brain injury following a cardiac arrest, where cessation of the brain's blood supply leads to a hypoxic brain injury, 2) investigating therapeutic interventions aimed at alleviating brain hypoxia following cardiac arrest to promote improved neurologic recovery, 3) investigating the pathophysiology of secondary hypoxia of the spinal cord following a traumatic spinal cord injury, and 4) investigating methods to alleviate spinal cord hypoxia following a traumatic spinal cord injury to promote improved neurologic recovery. Further, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic led to the formation of a research team associated with Vancouver General Hospital's intensive care unit, which I was fortunate enough to be a part of. Within this group we have investigated the relationship between the immunologic/inflammatory response to COVID-19 and the associated respiratory and brain injuries that occur in critically ill COVID-19 patients. We also conducted studies assessing the role of immunosuppression on respiratory function in critically ill COVID-19 patients and are conducting ongoing studies assessing the long term impact of COVID-19 on respiratory illness.
Why did you decide to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at UBC? Did you consider other opportunities?
UBC has been my academic home so to speak since I enrolled in undergraduate studies in September 2009 (time flies!) and I have never considered changing course since then. I continuously marvel at the quality of people here at UBC, both with respect to their scientific achievement as well as their supportiveness and kindness. It has been a privilege to simultaneously conduct research and build life-long friendships.
What specifically attracted you to your research group?
I have been afforded the opportunity to conduct cutting edge clinical research in globally unique research programs. The ability to ask and answer nuanced scientific questions here at UBC is truly world class.
What advice do you have for new postdoctoral fellows?
I would consider the people you work with to be the most important determining factor in where you should choose to do your postdoctoral fellowship.
What do you like to do for fun?
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic I enjoyed playing team sports and exploring craft brew pubs. More recently, I have enjoyed independent activities such as running and biking.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your postdoctoral fellowship?
The platform to be creative and explore new avenues of research.
What does receiving this award mean for your career?
This award and recognition is an honor. It is a reflection of the amazing team that has continued to support me throughout my journey as a young scientist. I draw inspiration and motivation from the individuals that have supported me and this award further motivates me to grow as an independent scientist.
What do you think the next step in your career will be?
I aim to build a collaborative research program that investigates the pathophysiology of central nervous system hypoxia.