The Biochemistry Department is pleased to host University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine’s first graduate course in Professional Development. Developed and implemented in 2012 and highlighted in Science Careers 2013, the GPD course provides student with the information, network and skill assessment tools outside the laboratory needed to succeed in the competitive market for academic and nonacademic biomedical careers. Students are given opportunities to reflect on their own interests, skills and values, strengthen their communication skills, networking with expert professionals, and to discuss their individual career plans. GPD enhances the excellent research experience with supplemental life-long skills to facilitate a successful transition not just from student life to first job, but throughout their career, life and curiosities outside the laboratory.

We discuss how students can pursue their scientific curiosities, ask the global questions to help the world, be bold enough to pursue leadership positions, and communicate to innovate. PhDs are not just scientists, but are leaders and innovative thinkers. Graduates from the University of Toronto’s Biochemistry GPD Program are provided with the tools and training to lead and help create the Canadian and international biomedical future. GPD is not just a course, it is an essential supplement throughout the graduate experience and beyond.

GPD students have led in designing initiatives such as the Department’s first blog Transcripts (2016 Andrew Zhai, Louis Ho, Aidin Tomlinson, Ana Pogoutse), the Peer Communications Team (2016-17 David Gallo, Kelsey Law, 2018 Nick Demers, Chloe Mitchell), and the Teaching in Higher Ed Together Workshop Series (2017 Shawn Xiong, Christine Han, Jasty Singh, 2018-19 Chloe Mitchell, Josh Jesin). The GPD course has also expanded to a Students as Partners model in 2018 with graduate student GPD alumni working as peer facilitators.

A “behind the scenes” look into the minutes before the 3-hr conference workshop on “Creating Your Dream Career” at Manitoba Science Health Research Forum, June 2023. Always looking forward to sharing insights with students!

Nana Lee PhD
Director and Associate Professor, Teaching Stream
Graduate Professional Development