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Dr. Christian Steidl: My Journey to a Career in Cancer Research

April 8, 2014

Hello! My name is Christian Steidl, and I am a scientist at the BC Cancer Agency. I am a physician by training, but during the early stages of my career I decided to focus my career development on research as I felt (and still feel) that advancing biomedical science has the enormous potential to improve the lives of so many patients through discovery.

I grew up in Bielefeld, a mid-sized town in northwest Germany. I completed medical school in Muenster, Germany in 2001 and started residency training in hematology and oncology at the University of Goettingen. At that time I also completed PhD-equivalent training in pathology and graduated in 2003 at the University of Witten-Herdecke.

Both my medical and research training very much shaped my thinking and research approaches that I still apply today. Accordingly, I am a strong believer that fundamental research and treating patients should go hand-in-hand, although a successful career in both the research and clinical field certainly puts a lot of strain on your life; having said that, the enormously rewarding feeling of making both fundamental discoveries and a difference in patients’ lives more than compensates for the hard work.

In 2006, I decided to move to Vancouver and started as a post-doctoral researcher at the BC Cancer Agency. At that point, my career decision was purely based on the excellent scientific reputation of BC Cancer Agency’s Centre for Lymphoid Cancer and the unique opportunity for me to join this group of world-leading scientist and clinicians, such as Drs. Randy Gascoyne, Joseph Connors and Marco Marra just to name a few. I only found out after my arrival that I also loved the city of Vancouver, the outdoors and the Canadian lifestyle. People say that once you come to Vancouver you never leave again. When the BC Cancer Agency and the University of British Columbia, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine extend an offer to me in 2011 to establish my own laboratory in cancer research, this certainly became true for me.

I look forward to sharing more about my work at the BC Cancer Agency in the coming weeks!