Mouat, Isobel

Doctor of Philosophy
Dr. Marc Horwitz
Ann Arbor, United States
Viral contribution to autoimmunity
In the Horwitz lab we study how viral infections contribute to chronic diseases. I study how Epstein Barr virus (EBV) contributes to the autoimmune diseases multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The cause of MS and RA is unknown, though they are thought to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. EBV infection is an environmental factor that has been implicated in MS and RA through epidemiological and clinical studies: nearly all MS and RA patients are infected with EBV and patients maintain abnormal immune responses against the virus. I am utilizing a model of EBV and MS to further characterize how EBV infection skews the immune system in such a way that predisposes for disease, and am developing a model of EBV's contribution to RA.
Everyone in the department is really supportive - professors and other graduate students all know your name and stop and chat with you in the hallway about life and research. Having a whole network of people around you who want you to succeed and are there with you throughout the degree is extremely helpful.
Having the opportunity to go directly into a lab that interested me, utilize the world renowned research facilities of UBC, and participate in local, national, and international collaborations all attracted me to UBC. Living in the vibrant city of Vancouver and daily views of the mountains have certainly been a bonus.

I enjoyed learning about science in undergrad, but I wanted to learn how science is done, and be part of the creation of knowledge. Additionally, the jobs available to those with graduate degrees were more appealing.