Apr 25, 2023

Humans of LMP: Rachelle Lee

Programs: Undergraduate, Agile education, Inclusive community
Rachelle Lee

Each month we speak to a member of the Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology community and find out more about them as part of an initiative from our Wellness, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee (WIDE).

This month we feature undergraduate student in the Specialist Program in Pathobiology and Vice President of Social in the LMP Student Union (LMPSU), Rachelle Lee.

Visit the Humans of LMP page to read more stories and nominate yourself or others to be featured.

What are you studying at LMP and why are you interested in studying it?

When I chose to specialize in LMP in my first year, I was looking forward to learning more about pathobiology. Throughout high school and first year university, the curriculum mostly focused on the mechanisms behind biological systems. However, I found it interesting to learn about what happens when those systems are impaired and how we treat these diseases. The topic of pathobiology was not the only thing that led me to LMP; the ability to learn about innovative research and collaborate with a small cohort of students was and continues to be a great positive about this program!

So far in my LMP journey, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about a variety of topics from specific ion channelopathies in LMP200 to the various uses of model organisms in LMP330. Not only are there specialized LMP courses that we can take, but the undergraduate LMP program also encourages us to take courses in other disciplines such as anatomy, biochemistry, immunology, and more. It has been quite the journey the past two years, and I’m quite excited to continue learning about all the different fields within laboratory medicine and pathobiology!

A group of people smiling at the camera
Members of LMPSU ice skating this winter

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at LMP?

I’ve had the fortune of being part of the LMPSU for the past two years – this year as the Vice President of Social and last year as one of the second-year representatives. I’ve been able to organize and host socials for the undergraduate LMP student body – such as a recent Pub Night event in March and ice-skating event in February to pumpkin decorating for Halloween. It has been fulfilling working with the other members of LMPSU to provide these socials for students to destress and bond with others in LMP.

It has also been great seeing our annual LMPSU conference come to fruition for the first time in-person since the pandemic with our “Making Sense of Senescence: Aging Through a Microscopic and Macroscopic Lens” conference after all the planning we’ve put into it since the summer. I’m definitely looking forward to the conference next year!

What was the best career advice you ever received?

One piece of advice that I’ve continually received from various people in my life is to not be afraid to explore your interests. You never know what you might enjoy the most.

What has been an important learning experience in your life?

An important learning experience in my life was learning how to balance life, work, and extracurriculars. Alongside the challenges of university, I was also learning how to live alone in a new country (I grew up in the US!). There were so many things to learn and juggle, but it has taught me time management and to prioritize what is most important to me.

Who is an influential person in your life and why?

My parents have been the most influential people in my life. They have always been supportive of my dreams and aspirations

What would it surprise people to know about you?

People are often surprised at my lack of spice tolerance. My controversial opinion is that carbonated drinks are “spicy” (which I found is at least somewhat biologically accurate). Another fun fact that people are often surprised about is that I’ve been a (somewhat) competitive bowler prior to university.

What activities do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy a lot of creative activities outside of work. I’ve been an avid artist my entire life and am currently expanding it into a small stationary business. I also play the piano and am part of the Hart House Symphonic Band as a flutist.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

I don’t have a specific favourite album as my music taste is quite variable. However, a piece I enjoy listening to and playing the most is “Merry Go Round of Life” by Joe Hisaishi from my favourite film “Howl’s Moving Castle”. Although, any film from Studio Ghibli is a close second. I haven’t read any novels recently (I’m more of a webtoon reader now), but books like the Hunger Games and Harry Potter are nostalgic reads

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Marie Curie (though perhaps not radioactive), Hayao Miyazaki, Joe Hisaishi, and John Williams.

Where/what is your favourite place?

My favorite place would be Hong Kong, where my family is originally from. Tons of good food, places to see, and fun things to do! I highly recommend visiting – though perhaps not during typhoon season.

If you were stuck on a deserted island but had all your basic needs taken care of (i.e. food and water), what two items would you bring with you and why?

Assuming there’s no way off the island, I would bring my tablet (as it provides a method of drawing, reading, and entertainment) and a survival guide (because even if I had all my basic needs taken care of, I would have no idea how to use/maintain them; I’m a city-girl at heart).