Creativity in choice of work

Sara Good, professor, Department of Biology

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Originally from Kingston, Ont., Dr. Sara Good has lived in Winnipeg and worked at the University of Winnipeg (U of W) since 2008. Although still a geneticist/genomicist, her career focus changed in 2017.

“I took my same skill set and applied (it) to a different organism and a different set of questions. I switched from working on plants predominantly to working on fish and mice,” she says.

“Updating my genomic skills and mastering literature in this new field, that’s been overwhelming, that’s been challenging.”

Good says it’s important to adapt existing skills when considering a work transition.

“When you make a shift, don’t ditch your own primary skills. Figure out how to reimagine them for your new direction. Otherwise, you don’t move forward,” she says.

Good now studies mice for projects related to health sciences, which have applications to humans. She received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research of Canada grant through the U of W to pursue this work.

“We’re working on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis. This research is being led by my doctoral student, Drake Hechter (from the) human food and nutrition program at the University of Manitoba (U of M),” Good says.

She’s also pursuing a research project (pending a grant from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission) with the U of M’s Dr. Margaret Docker surrounding sex determination in fish, specifically the sea lamprey.

“The invasive species is a threat in Atlantic Canada, and a single landlocked lamprey can kill up to 20 kilograms of freshwater fish per year. (Our) research attempts to reduce their numbers in the Great Lakes system without the use of pesticides,” Good says.

What is the best thing about your work?

“As a professor, I think it’s how much creativity there is in your choice of what you work on. One of the most rewarding things is working with your students.”

What do you like about Winnipeg?

“It is a very affordable and easy-to-navigate city for families. I find the schools are very good.”

What do you do in your spare time?

“I like to go cross-country skiing. Being with my kids.”

Published in Volume 77, Number 13 of The Uniter (January 5, 2023)

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