Dr. Megan Levings
BEHIND THE MICROSCOPE?
I am an immunologist, leading a research lab that studies how one kind of white blood cell (called a regulatory T cells, or Tregs) controls immune responses. I never get tired of looking at Tregs under the microscope.
I obtained a BSc in biology from Simon Fraser University, a PhD in genetics from UBC, and then moved to Milan in Italy for four years to learn how to study the white blood cells that make up our immune system.
I am married to another research scientist who also works at CFRI. Actually it works out well because lunch is one of the only times we get to talk to each other without kids interrupting! My boys are seven and nine years old; they keep us very busy and are keen to donate some blood so they can look at their white blood cells under the microscope.
WHAT YOU’D NEVER KNOW ABOUT ME …
When we lived in Italy we had the chance to hear many amazing early music concerts in churches built at the time the music was written. But I also love ’80s indie music (The Cure, The Smiths etc.) – it’s a strange combination.
WHY I BECAME A RESEARCH SCIENTIST …
I think it was in my genes as my father is also a research scientist and I’ve had a lifelong passion for learning. I’m really happy to be working in the field of immunology because understanding how the immune system works has broad applicability to so many aspects of health.
My latest project is growing a Meyer Lemon tree – I am very excited because they actually turned yellow! I used to do all sorts of crafts (sewing, knitting, pottery, photography) but that is on hold while the kids are little. In the winter we also cross-country ski; this year we are working on teaching the kids how to skate ski.
I would really like to learn how to play the classical guitar.
IF I DIDN’T HAVE TO WORK
I would garden and cook more and definitely go back to Italy more often!
I am always advising my students (and kids!) that it is OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.
WHAT I’M READING NOW…
Lots of new cookbooks from British chefs who are introducing me to all sorts of exciting new ingredients and dishes from the Middle East. I’m also re-reading the whole Harry Potter series with my kids.
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