Or…Dr. Kylynda C. Bauer, PhD

Are you ok? If not, that’s ok, too.

Each season of 2020 arrived with unexpected challenges, unanticipated distress, and grief. Despite the ongoing shock and uncertainty, I’m grateful for the resilience, community (socially distant), pursuits of justice, and kindness I’ve witnessed this year.

I know many of us are struggling and I almost feel awkward for the personal celebrations I’ve experience. But I also believe it’s important to hold tightly to positive memories, reflect in gratitude, and foster wonder. So…I’m sharing a list of joy (not in any particular order)!

The weekend after the defense (Bowen Island), photo by SD

(1) Extra time with family over spring/summer

(2) Ability to let go of unfinished research disrupted by COVID19

(3) (Currently) healthy

(4) Safe return to Canada following summertime quarantine

(5) Friendship during life transitions

(6) A post-doctoral fellowship*

(7) Beautiful BC (beaches, bears, bays, + boats)

(8) A new scicomm project**

(9) An accepted research publication***

(10) Passing my PhD defense this August…I’m Dr. Bauer!

I’ve included my thesis acknowledgments below. There are many more people that could (should) be on the list, particularly former Finlayites, non-UBC support, previous teachers/mentors, and the groundbreaking/ceiling cracking researchers that came before. Thank you.


This thesis could not have been accomplished without the support of Dr. Brett Finlay. Thank you, Brett, for the opportunity to pursue gut-systems research in the Finlay Lab and for providing academic, collaborative, and funding support throughout my doctoral studies. When I joined the Finlay lab, the current team described your leadership style as an “opportunity creator” –thank you for supporting incredible opportunities that included developing a gut-brain research crew and forging interdisciplinary research at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health (Canada), Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (Singapore), and Lleida Universitat (Spain). I am particularly grateful that you provided me the opportunity to join the CIFAR-Humans and the Microbiome Program as a reporter.

My deepest gratitude to all the members of the Finlay Lab from 2015-2020. I am grateful to all of you not only for your friendship, but also for helping develop my research skills and providing training and mentorship in new experimental techniques and data analyses. Thank you for your encouragement and guidance navigating the successes and challenges of graduate school. I’m a better scientist because of all of you. To fellow Fall 2015 lab mates—KelseySarah, and Rozlyn—thank you for your support throughout graduate studies. I wish you the best of success as we keep investigating the microbial world. Kelsey thanks for being my partner in Team MAL-BG, I’ve truly appreciated your advice, insight, and collaboration. Thank you to AndrewKate, and Jorge for advice in prepping for comprehensive exams, setting up committees, and maintaining work-life balance. Jorge thank you for training in the anaerobic chamber. I’m also grateful to AntonioJames, and Zack for their research perspective and advice in experimental designs. Thanks to all the members of malnutrition studies: HaggaiAnna, and Paula for providing a needed clinical and nutritional perspective. Also, a thank you to the growing Team BrainMihaiNina, and Avril—I’ve enjoyed all our conversations and I’ve been challenged to think more critically and explore new research directions. Honorary Team Brain crew members, Charisse and Zakhar, thank you for your support in developing a microbe-microglia paper. Mihai, thanks for being a great bay mate and sharing alcohol-resistant makers. To you and Charisse thanks for all the long hours prepping microglia, for answering bioinformatic questions, and supporting my gut-brain projects. Finally, the lab could not function without TaherehDeng, and LisaTahereh—thank you for the many long and challenging hours you dedicate to supporting my mouse studies, with efficiency and respect for the animals. I’m very grateful. Deng thank you especially for the warm and thoughtful Exit Seminar introduction. Lisa—thank you for supporting my research needs and helping me succeed within the Finlay Lab. Your support has been incredible. 

In addition, I want to thank the expanded support team during graduate studies—both my doctoral thesis committee comprised of Dr. Jennifer GardyDr. Brian MacVicar, and Dr. Lisa Osborne, as well as the Microbiology and Immunology Department at UBC. Thank you for your support and academic guidance. Also, a special thank you to Darlene Birkenhead for helping me navigate requirements and opportunities during the graduate experience.  

This work was greatly supported through multidisciplinary collaboration. I am absolutely indebted to Eric Brown, currently at the Broad/Harvard, for teaching me the MAL-BG model and how to develop and critically plan research projects. I’m very grateful for your friendship and mentorship. Eli York—the microglial project could not have been accomplished without your research skills and suggestions. Thank you for introducing me to this incredible neuroimmune regulator and for your knowledge in glial biology. I wish you success in your research at Harvard University. I am also grateful to members of the CIFAR-HMB Program for allowing me to join in a transdisciplinary discussion of the microbiome and expanding my study of microbial communities to consider perspectives embedded in health, evolution, and anthropology. Dr. Brian MacVicarDr. Sven Pettersson, and Dr. Victoria Ayala—thank you for allowing me to visit your labs to expand my training in neurology and metabolism. I am very grateful to the mentorship and opportunities that you all provided me. I look forward to future collaboration.  

Personal awards for research include a Vanier NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Canadian Federal government, Four Year Doctoral Fellowship from UBC, as well as funding from work as the Program Report of the CIFAR-Humans and the Microbiome Program. During my doctoral studies the Finlay Lab received support from the CIHR (Canada) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (United States). I’m grateful to these funding agencies for supporting research exploring the microbiome and gut-systems interactions. 

Finally, this success also reflects on the love and support I received from my family. Mom—I wouldn’t be a scientist without you. Thank you for your wisdom, support, and helping me launch my work in research. Thank you for the gift of science. Dad—thank you for believing in me even when faith in myself faltered. Thank you for the knowledge of words. Khelsea—you are my best friend and role model, thank you and John for graciously opening up your home so I could write this thesis safely during a global pandemic. You are my heroes.


*More about me later

**Definitely more about me later

***Obviously more about me later (you get the idea)

Happy Exploring! -Dr. Bauer

By KCBauer

Hello! My name is KCBauer and I am a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia. I am a researcher, writer, musician, and explorer. Originally from Washington DC, I graduated with a BA in Music and BS in Biology in 2014. This blog focuses on the gut microbiota, the trillions of microorganisms that reside along the digestive tract. My grad research at UBC examines the role of the gut microbiota on human health, brain development, and anthropology. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy ambling through Vancity, listening to music, reading science journals, and hiking. If you have questions, ideas for blog topics, suggestions for place to visit in BC, or corrections send me an email at

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