Updated: Sep 6, 2021
“Dr. Tsang highlighted his view of training of the mind over training of the skills.”
Author: Janna Radi
From an elaborate explanation of a female’s biological system to timeless advice for future professionals, Dr. Benjamin Tsang’s interview is one for the books.
Dr. Tsang is a professor at the University of Ottawa’s Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Cellular & Molecular Medicine, and the Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences. When prompted to discuss how he became a researcher, a conversation began about gaining mentorship from professors he had built a professional relationship with.
Dr. Tsang developed his muscle of curiosity and inquisition through opportunities like summer research projects to which his interests shifted from physical chemistry to biochemistry, pharmacology and finally to his current focus in ovarian biology.
Furthermore, he highlighted the importance of interprofessionalism in reaching his research goals, where conversations with professionals from various disciplines helped in the provision of a broader and more holistic perspective of the project.
The Tsang Lab focuses on developing a novel therapy for chemo-resistant ovarian cancer, a lethal form of cancer for women – which Dr. Tsang views as a hobby rather than a job. Here, he has brought to light some of the fundamentals of ovarian biology, the basis by which cancer develops, and an insight into questions to address its resistance.
His research question surrounds studying tissues of concern, such as a follicle or tumor, adapted over the years as he continues to mature his knowledge and skills in the field. For example, he started off by researching the functional unit of the ovary, what controls its growth, its molecular and cellular mechanisms, and signaling pathways. From there, he hoped to facilitate his understanding of ovulatory problems and infertility in women. Years later, his questions led him to research chemo-resistant ovarian cancer, as he wondered if the resistance had developed because of an inhibition in a part of the signaling pathway or whether it was something else. Dr. Tsang’s research has been invaluable to the field and development of a new therapy for the most lethal cancer in women: chemoresistant ovarian cancer.
His meticulousness, intelligence, and passion are clear as he continues to discuss his thought process throughout the years.
Aside from being an internationally recognized researcher, Dr. Tsang is also a Professor, to which he shares his refreshing philosophy: “a shift away from didactic teaching towards facilitating development of lifetime learning”. In addition to these nontraditional thoughts, Dr. Tsang highlighted his view of training the mind over the training of skills. He elaborated that technicalities are subject to change with the constant innovations of science; “A western blot may be used nowadays, but two years later, the technique might not be used”. Training of the mind (such as asking the right questions, leadership and running a lab) is the true long-term investment and aids in the advancement of students’ decision-making abilities.
A huge thank you to Dr. Tsang for giving us a preview into his thought process and life.
Want the full scoop? Dr. Tsang’s interview will be uploaded on Spotify (Interprofessional Health Talks) and YouTube (uOttawa IPHA) soon!
Williams Thottungal & Richard Chen
Header Image by Hush Naidoo .@hush52 from Unsplash
References not applicable.