Faces of LMP: Christina Hyunjin Kim
Name: Christina Hyunjin Kim
Role/position: LMP Master’s Student and Conductor of LMP A Cappella Choir
Christina Kim knows the value of building community. The first-year Master’s student started LMP A Cappella Choir to bring together a wide range of researchers working on campus and in U of T’s affiliated hospitals. Weekly rehearsals help students to unwind and connect. She spoke to us about her research and her passion for singing.
What are you studying?
I’m working with Dr. Allison McGeer on the emergence of “superbug” resistance in Southern Ontario. These “superbugs,” also known as carbapenemase-producing organisms, have developed resistance to all antibiotics currently available on the market. Over the summer, I will be studying wastewater (sewage) and treated water to look for the presence of these bacteria in our water system. We plan to study water samples from different parts of the City of Toronto and also extend our study to Brampton and Mississauga.
What do you find most interesting about your work?
I’m excited about this work because the results from this study will directly impact my local community. Also, it’s fascinating to work with such simple organisms that have the complex mechanisms to counter every chemical weapon we throw at them. They are, in many ways, smarter and faster than humans and it’s fun to learn about their resilience.
What inspired you to create an a cappella group?
Music has always been a part of my life—I come from a musical family and my mother sang with the Mississauga Opera Company. During my undergraduate studies at U of T, I was part of an a cappella group at New College. I started conducting that group in my third year, and when I came to LMP I thought it would be a great idea to start a new group.
Who is in the group?
Our group currently has thirteen members and consists of graduate students from LMP and two exchange students from Denmark. We welcome singers with varying levels of experience—one of our singers, Bunty Singh, has just started singing this year and he’s doing really well. It’s important for us to keep this as an open group since we want to encourage people to try something new.
What do you hope to accomplish with this group?
Our goal is to engage the LMP student community. We spend many hours in the lab and we work in hospitals across the city. Meeting every week for practice is a great way to unwind and build community. We have students doing research ranging from cancer and cardiovascular disease to neuroscience and infectious diseases, and this is one way to unite everyone. I’ve met some really interesting people, and I’m sure we’ll make lasting connections.
What are your future plans?
In the near future we plan to perform at the LMP Talent Night, which is scheduled for May 14. I hope that this group will continue to grow and become one of the faces of LMP. In terms of my professional development, I hope to work in the public health field and also work overseas to teach what I’ve learned during my undergraduate and graduate studies.
What’s your favourite thing about LMP?
LMP has a great community and our student government has definitely helped create this community by hosting the best social events. This community and the support from the LMP administration has definitely made the transition from undergrad to graduate life smoother. Also, the professors in LMP are world-renowned researchers, and it is amazing to have a chance to be taught directly by them.
Members of the LMP A Cappella Choir. Left to Right: Kaustabh Bunty Singh, Carlyn Figueiredo, Kirk Szafranski, Minji Jenny Lee, Madonna Peter, Carmelle Cuizon, Joella Joseph, Kyung Ha (Kay) Ku, Elena Pasko, Sarah Farr, Kristine Jakobsen and Christina Hyunjin Kim (Conductor)