Dr Pauline Wang is Facility Manager of the Centre for Analysis of Genome Evolution & Function (CAGEF). Her facility provides research services to scientists around the world in comparative, evolutionary, and functional analyses of genomes and proteomes.

Inspired by a young woman who taught her biology in Grade 6, Wang chose to pursue a career in science, with a Bachelor’s degree at Rensselaer PI in New York. Near the end of third year, experience in research showed her that a PhD would be the most fulfilling course for her, rather than the MD sought by her classmates.

With a PhD and postdoctoral fellowship at SUNY Stony Brook and a second postdoc in Chicago, she immigrated to Canada and, after a break to have her third child, became a Research Associate in CSB Professor David Guttman’s lab. As Professor Guttman built the facilities that would become CAGEF, Wang took on the training and management of students and staff. She now directs a team at CAGEF and the Guttman lab of over 20 Technicians, Project Managers, postdocs and students.

Wang sees great importance in supporting women and underrepresented minorities in science. Young women often express concern to Wang about whether it is possible to do research and have a family. From her own experience, Wang reassures them that it can be done, but the key is time management. Whenever Wang had to get to childcare by the end of day, she made sure to plan her experiments to finish on time for pick-up.

Even though managing staff and client contact is a big part of her job, Wang says that at heart she is a bench scientist and loves doing experiments. Her team can assay anything from the smallest metabolite through protein complexes to the multiple genomes in a microbiome. With many clients of CAGEF asking to process unusual species or samples, she loves to develop and troubleshoot new methods for these projects.

Remembering her Grade 6 inspiration, Wang is conscious of the importance of a good teacher. She brings excellence to designing and delivering genome biology workshops on processing and analyzing genomic samples. At CAGEF, one of her most fulfilling experiences was training scientists from Africa to improve coconut blight control through a collaboration with Professor Keiko Yoshioka.