Born in Iran, my family and I moved to Canada when I was 8 years old. It wasn’t until Grade 10 Science when I truly enjoyed a topic for the first time- human anatomy and physiology. This was when I began thinking about a career in medicine.
After high school, I began my undergraduate degree in Science at UBC. With more exposure, be it via course work or volunteer activities, I knew that medicine was the path for me. When I was accepted into UBC Medicine, I was on my way to becoming the first doctor in my family!
Early on, I realized that I was drawn to surgical specialties. Funny enough, I wasn’t familiar with the field of Urology. It wasn’t until my father in law told me about his experience with a urologist that I learned of the field. After shadowing a few urologic procedures, I decided to get involved in research. After that, there was no going back. I was hooked by the diversity of the field, and the incredible people I’d met during the process. I’m truly honoured and excited to be a part of the UBC team, and I look forward to an incredible residency.
My name is Drew Phillips and I’m a BC boy through and through. I was born and raised in Port Alberni, BC and completed an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Victoria. I worked for 1 year in a research lab at UVic investigating syphilis vaccine candidates before ultimately starting medical school in UBC’s Southern Medical Program in Kelowna, BC. I feel privileged to be continuing my medical education as one of the new UBC Urology residents. I look forward to getting to know and working with everyone over the next 5 years.
Outside of the hospital I like to spend my time playing sports or board games with friends. I have recently been getting into multiday hiking, and recently returned from climbing Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro – a 5,895m trek. Hopefully I’ll be able to take advantage of some the mainland’s many beautiful mountains and trails during my time in Vancouver!
I was born and raised in Toronto, and completed my undergraduate degree in Physiology at the University of Toronto. Through my summer research in kidney transplantation, I was inspired by what a magnitude of difference a few hours of work in the OR could make, and this has driven me towards a surgical career.
I moved to Kingston for medical school at Queen’s University, where I was fortunate to meet a very supportive group of urologists who helped cemented my interest in urology, and provided me with endless encouragement and guidance throughout my clerkship years. I had an incredible elective experience at VGH, and was impressed with how broadly proficient the residents were. I quickly felt like I was already part of the team, and a I was very happy to find out I would be part of the DUS family.
Since moving to Vancouver, it has been a busy but exciting start to residency. I am very much looking forward to working with the group here at UBC in the coming years, and continuing to explore all that this beautiful province has to offer.
I was born in Taiwan and raised mostly in New Zealand. I attended the University of Auckland Medical School and completed my urology residency through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons based in New Zealand. I developed a sub-specialty interest in Uro-oncology during training and became aware of the UBC Uro-oncology fellowship program through a mentor who was a previous fellow here about twelve years ago.
I am excited about the opportunity to be working with and learning from a great, world-renowned faculty at UBC Urology and Vancouver Prostate Centre. Upon completion of fellowship, I will return home to Auckland but in the meantime, I will be looking to make the most of Vancouver, BC with my young family.
Werner J. Struss
I was born in Pretoria, spending my formative years in South Africa, accumulating in a undergraduate year at the University of Stellenbosch before my German heritage lured me to explore further tertiary education in Europe. A combination of family tradition and intrigue lead me to settle in Hamburg where I completed my medical school training. Several electives abroad including the United Kingdom, Switzerland and my native South Africa lead me to appreciate the diversity in approach to medical management yet the universal desire of physicians, irrespective of the circumstances, to manage their patients to the best of their abilities. In fact, a memorable urology elective in a community hospital in Hamburg defined my decision to apply for residency training in this field. I completed my training in Hamburg at several specialised departments offering a very diverse spectrum of urologic disorders from oncology, reconstruction to pediatrics. During my training, oncology was of particular interest to me and this led me to search for a fellowship programme that offered insight into precision oncology. The Department of Urologic Sciences is truly world renowned in this regard with the possibility to manage oncologic disorders from bench to bedside. I have been privileged to explore research topics of interest to me, particularly genomic exploration of prostate and bladder cancer, with an inspirational and supportive team of researchers and clinician-scientists alike. In addition to this I have now joined the clinical team and aim to improve my surgical skill set over the coming year. Upon reflection, I am thrilled to have had these opportunities and coincidentally have called some of the most beautiful cities in the world (Cape Town, Hamburg and Vancouver) home!
I grew up in the Bavarian alps, Germany where I also went to school and achieved my university entrance diploma. To study medicine, I moved to Marburg, a small student town right in the middle of Germany. Fascinated by the combination of clinical knowledge and technical skills I soon knew that I wanted to pursue a career in a surgical subspeciality. During my graduate training at the Philipps-University, Marburg I started to work on my doctoral thesis on bladder cancer, which ultimately awoke the desire to become a urologist.
I began my residency at the Department of Urology at the University Hospital Heidelberg where I also gained further research experience in urologic oncology, especially prostate cancer imaging. Always curious to learn and looking for new challenges I did not have to think twice when the opportunity came up to adjourn my residency and become a fellow at the Department of Urologic Sciences, UBC. The DUS and the Vancouver Prostate Centre have an excellent reputation all over the world and I am proud and honored to be able to join the team for two years.
The hospitality and support from every single team member made it easy for me to settle in and I now already look back at 6 exciting and instructive month at the DUS. I really enjoy the high level work environment and hope to not only go back to Germany with new knowledge and ideas but also keep the scientific exchange and further cooperate with the DUS.
Postdoctoral fellow Alberto Contreras-Sanz
Alberto Contreras-Sanz is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr Peter Black’s laboratory at the Vancouver Prostate Centre. Originally from Spain, where he earned his degree in Pharmacy, Alberto decided to pursue a more research-oriented career and moved to Copenhagen (Denmark) for a master’s program in research. Hoping for less rain and more daylight hours, he then moved to the UK for his PhD in pharmacology at the School of Pharmacy (University College London). He then continued to work as a drug screening research scientist in the cystic fibrosis and cholera fields for the Novartis Foundation in the UK, a branch of the pharmaceutical company that researches on diseases of low and middle-income countries.
In late 2015, wanting to gain some insight into urological cancers, Alberto joined Dr Black’s laboratory. Here, his research focuses on Notch signalling pathways in bladder cancer. He is also involved in the pre-clinical stage of novel therapeutics in collaboration with local and multinational pharmaceutical companies. When not in the lab, Alberto is often found exploring the beautiful Coast Mountains on skis and foot, or sailing and kayaking in the cold waters of the Salish Sea.
Other new postdoctoral fellows in the department include:
Kymora Scotland – Endourology Fellow
Kymora Scotland is the new endourology fellow at the Stone Center of the Department of Urologic Sciences here at UBC. Dr. Scotland was born on the Caribbean island of Dominica, moved to the US after completing high school to attend Hunter College of the City University of New York where she developed an interest in research and medicine which that led her to Cornell University and the Tri-Institutional Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan Kettering MD-PhD Program. There, she was successful in being awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein trainee fellowship from the NIH. Her thesis work focused on murine embryonic stem cell differentiation and characterization of putative adult stem cells. Dr. Scotland then completed her urology residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia where she developed an interest in endourology and minimally invasive surgery. Her clinical research at Jefferson focused on the endourologic management of stones and upper tract urothelial cancer as well as minimally invasive cancer treatment. Awards obtained while at Jefferson included the SUO best poster in 2016. Dr. Scotland has secured a 2017 Urology Care Foundation Fellowship funding her clinical training and investigations into ureteral peristalsis and stent associated infection here at UBC.