Sep 28, 2023

Humans of LMP: Vathany Kulasingam

Programs: Postgraduate, Alumni, Inclusive community
Dr. Vathany Kulasingam

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).

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

This month we feature Associate Professor, Co-Director for the postdoctoral training program in Clinical Chemistry, and "LMP lifer", Dr. Vathany Kulasingam.

How long have you been at LMP and what does your role involve?

I am an LMP-lifer – having taken some LMP courses during my undergraduate studies, followed by completion of my PhD in LMP in 2008. I then completed my post-doctoral fellowship training in Clinical Chemistry in LMP in 2010 and joined LMP as a faculty member later that year. 

In my clinical role, I am the Division Head for Clinical Biochemistry at the University Health Network (UHN) where my team is responsible for clinical diagnostic laboratory oversight of UHN as well as ~30 other rural hospitals in Ontario. I am a clinician investigator at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and my research interests include using high throughput omics technologies to understand disease pathogenesis, with a particular emphasis on cancer and rheumatic diseases and its application to clinical practice.

Within LMP, I am an Associate Professor and the co-director of the Post-doctoral fellowship training program in Clinical chemistry. I developed my own graduate-level course in proteomics and mass spectrometry in 2016 and have taught at all levels of education in LMP.

What led you to pursue your current career path?  

As a PhD graduate student in Dr. Eleftherios P Diamandis’ research laboratory, I witnessed first-hand his role as a clinical biochemist and how he helped build and shape the clinical biochemistry laboratories in the downtown Toronto hospitals. This sparked my interest in the field and I loved the idea of connecting clinical service, teaching and research.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of? 

I am a learner for life so I find value in all aspects of various initiatives and achievements completed to date. I am grateful and humbled to have had the opportunity to participate in a number of impactful initiatives – in clinical service, education, research and professional development domains.

What was the best career advice you ever received?  

When I started to take on leadership roles, someone told me “you cannot lead what you cannot see”. This really emphasized the importance of being physically present, interacting with staff on a daily basis and ensuring that we use our privilege to speak up for others.

What has been an important learning experience in your life? 

Through the years, I’ve learned to pursue opportunities that challenge me, to work towards a purpose that I find motivating and fulfilling, and most importantly allowing my own definition of success to evolve – it is not defined by others.

Who is an influential person in your life and why?

My father, who taught me through example to face adversity and to conquer it. He passed away shortly after I started my PhD graduate studies but he instilled in me the values of hard work, determination and importance of being self-reflective.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

The type of music I enjoy listening to.

What activities do you enjoy doing outside of work? 

Running (outdoors and after my daughter and dog)! 

What is your favourite album, film and novel? 

Too many to select from but one of my favorite books is “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

I prefer to live in the moment and be grateful for those around me.

Where/what is your favourite place? 

Where my family is.

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?

I hope this doesn’t happen to me!

Congratulations to Dr. Kulasingam who has just received the Clinical Biochemistry Outstanding Contribution Award. Presented by the Ontario Society of Clinical Chemists (OSCC) as a mark of recognition of outstanding contribution to the field of Clinical Biochemistry within the province of Ontario, this award recognizes significant contributions to the advancement of the field through practice changes, education, research or leadership.

Postdoctoral training program in clinical chemistry

Learn more about the program, requirements, how to apply and more.