First-year PhD syncs science and music
Andrew King leads a double life.
By night he belts out Motown tunes on his sax while touring the Hamilton music scene. By day he works to find new drugs to treat antibiotic resistant infections.
As a student, King – a first-year PhD candidate who recently won a $15,000 Ontario Graduate Scholarship – can be found in the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR). As a musician, he plays with two local bands: funk act Quadrafonics and Motown group Monkley Cascade.
“I really enjoy music, but science is my life,” he says.
Pursuing a career in science, however, was not always a given for King. Though he has always been interested in chemistry, he spent his first year of post-secondary education at Humber College studying jazz.
After transferring to McMaster and working in associate professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences Murray Junop’s lab, however, King new what his future held.
“I love the discovery that comes with science and the fact that you can make a difference in people’s lives,” he says. “I feel fortunate to be part of Gerry Wright’s lab and the IIDR because there are so many opportunities here to do great research. I honestly don’t think there is another lab like this in Canada. It has exceptional staff and facilities that allow us to discover and pursue novel chemical entities capable of reversing resistance.”
It’s work that King takes very seriously – as he should, considering the statistics.
“These types of infections kill more people in North America each year than HIV and cost health care systems billions,” says King. “We really want to get on this before it becomes an even bigger problem.”
Outside of the lab, music remains an important part of King’s life. He’ll be performing at the upcoming Supercrawl festival on Hamilton’s James Street.
“Music is a really nice outlet,” says King, who professes to listen to just about all genres of music. “We work long hours in the lab sometimes, and it’s nice to be able to leave and do something completely different.”