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Meet Our Alumni: Lianping Ti, PhD

Jan 15, 2018 |
  • At A Glance: Lianping’s Career Path – hover here

    What did the PhD give you?

    Having a PhD has allowed me to pursue my goal of becoming an academic and research scientist.


    What advice to you have for current students and recent graduates?

    Be passionate and enthusiastic about the work that you do.


    Interesting Fact

    I now co-teach Mike Marin’s biostatistics courses and sometimes still refer to his YouTube videos when I need to program in R!

Photo credit: V. Saran Photo

If Lianping Ti looks familiar, it may be because she taught you biostatistics this year.

An alumna of the School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) doctoral program, Dr. Ti once took the courses she now teaches with Senior Lecturer Mike Marin, and says she still sometimes refers to his YouTube videos for programming in R.

This rapid move from student to faculty has seen her become an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and an associate member of SPPH, scooping up the Young Alumni Award along the way. Planning was a key component to this transition, she says, and setting milestones helped to prioritize her work and what she wanted to accomplish.

“I’ve made such great and long-lasting friends through the program and I thank SPPH for that.”
PhD alumna Dr. Lianping Ti

Lianping Ti

Credit: BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

Working as a research scientist with the Epidemiology and Population Health program at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, she says a normal day of work involves “writing, writing, and more writing! For the most part, I sit in front of a computer and am likely writing manuscripts, grants, or crunching numbers.”

Knowing that the Centre’s work has the capacity to change health policies through evidence-based research gets Dr. Ti out of bed to go to work in the morning, she says.

“In my mind, innovation in research is meaningless without implementation.”
PhD alumna Dr. Lianping Ti

She first became interested in public health, substance use, infectious diseases, and health systems research when she had the opportunity to do site visits to harm reduction programs in Melbourne as an intern for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Dr. Ti says. After this, she realized she was more interested in working in a field where she could help make a large-scale impact on populations, rather than her pre-Masters work in a wet lab on preclinical trials.

“The advice I would give to current PhD students is to be passionate and enthusiastic about the work that you do. Public health research can be so fulfilling, but only if you believe in the potential impact that your work will have on society.”
PhD alumna Dr. Lianping Ti

The doctoral degree at SPPH taught Dr. Ti grant writing and analytical skills, upon which she continues to build, and she attributes the success of her career to time management skills developed during her studies. During her time at SPPH, Dr. Ti says she made long-lasting friends, and found Mr Marin’s courses the most useful.

In future, Dr. Ti hopes to continue work in a related field as a tenured professor, with the aim of optimizing health systems for marginalized populations. “As to what exactly I’ll be working on, I’m not quite sure. Science is changing all the time, so I’m sure I’ll have to be flexible and move where the need for research is!”

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