MSc grad Nicole Wang from the Haney lab awarded a Governor General’s Gold Medal

Nicole Wang, an MSc student from the Haney lab, has been awarded a Governor General’s Gold Medal – an award for the top-achieving student (academics and research) in all of UBC.

Taking advantage of every opportunity available to her through the department and at UBC, Nicole is described as an A-student, fantastic molecular biologist, an outstanding writer, an excellent bioinformatician, a community organizer, and with a talent for graphic design.

Contributing to four manuscripts during her MSc degree (on two of which she was first author), Nicole worked with remarkable independence and made rapid, significant and novel contributions to the field of plant-microbiome interactions.

“Nicole is phenomenal at everything she attempts, and she has attempted a lot,” says Dr. Cara Haney, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in the UBC Department of Microbiology & Immunology.

(Figure 1 from Nicole’s first-author paper in mBIO, “Commensal Pseudomonas fluorescens Strains Protect Arabidopsis from Closely Related Pseudomonas Pathogens in a Colonization-Dependent Manner.”

In addition to her research, Nicole was also highly involved in the UBC community. She was President of MIGSS (the Microbiology and Immunology Graduate Student Society), where she actively promoted a culture of inclusion and helped with grad student wellbeing during the pandemic. As the Haney lab’s social coordinator, she organized a number of events for the lab and helped maintain the lab’s website and Instagram pages.

“I am excited to receive this award, as well as very thankful to Cara for nominating me and believing in me!” says Nicole. “Even though I’ve always been intrinsically motivated to work hard and get involved in leadership activities in my community, I feel extremely honoured to be recognized by the university for my achievements.”

After her MSc, Nicole was quickly recruited by a local biotech startup company, Nyoka Design Labs, as a research scientist – a position usually reserved for individuals with PhDs.

Congratulations, Nicole on all your achievements!

Nicole Wang’s publications:

Commensal Pseudomonas fluorescens Strains Protect Arabidopsisfrom Closely Related Pseudomonas Pathogens in a Colonization-Dependent Manner
; mBIO:

Harnessing the genetic potential of the plant microbiome; The Biochemist:

Mechanisms in plant–microbiome interactions: lessons from model systems; Current Opinion in Plant Biology (with coverphoto):

This story by Laryssa Vachon originally appeared on the
UBC Microbiology and Immunology website.