Alumni of the UBC Graduate Program in Neuroscience (GPN) embark on diverse career paths, spanning academia, clinical practice, industry, and beyond. We’ve connected with two of our esteemed Neuroscience program graduates to learn about their current career destinations and how their experiences in the program paved the way for their success.


Dr. Kaiyun Yang, GPN PhD Graduate 2017
Neurosurgeon – Community Neurosciences Institute

Dr. Kaiyun Yang

What is your current job?
I’m a neurosurgeon at Community Neurosciences Institute in Fresno, California. I specialize in surgical treatment of brain tumors and cerebrovascular diseases.

What is a typical day like for you?

I see patients in the clinic two days per week to discuss their conditions and treatment options. In the operating room, I work with our surgical team to take care of surgical conditions, sometimes with neurophysiologists monitoring patients’ neurological functions real-time.

Why did you choose Neuroscience?
I was drawn in by the intricate anatomy and physiology of the brain, and wanted to understand the basics behind clinical neuroscience.

In what ways has your degree in Neuroscience got you to where you are today?
The Neuroscience program at UBC has taught me to be meticulous and think logically and independently, which has been truly beneficial during residency and fellowship training. It has also served me well during patient encounters.

What did you enjoy most about UBC?
Training with world-class neuroscientists such as Max, Tim and Yu Tian, and collaborating with brilliant and like-minded people in the lab.

What are your future goals?
To become a surgeon-scientist in the field of neuro-oncology and neurovascular disorders, and make scientific discoveries that will improve patients’ quality of life.

What advice do you have for Neuroscience graduate students?
Enjoy the journey. It is not easy but you are not alone. Make friends along the way. They will grow with you and become your support system.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.


Ariana Cahn, GPN MSc Graduate 2021
Scientific Marketing Specialist – STEMCELL Technologies

Ariana Cahn

What is your current job?
I work as a Scientific Marketing Specialist at STEMCELL Technologies. I work with a variety of teams to produce advertisements for our products, among other things.

In what ways has your degree in Neuroscience got you to where you are today?
It was necessary for me to have a MSc in the life sciences to land my role!

What did you enjoy most about UBC?
All the friends I made and who are still very important people in my life.

Why did you choose neuroscience?
The brain is so fascinating and complex – it can’t even understand itself!

What are your goals for the future?
Right now, I’m really working towards feeling fulfilled in my professional life. I’m hoping to carve out a career path for myself that is true to me, even if this means going against society’s grain of what “working” should look like.

What advice do you have for Neuroscience graduate students?
Make sure to keep in touch with the people you met during your time in the program. This includes your peers, mentors, and other professors and administrators that you came in contact with along the way. Maintaining your professional network is key to your career.

Anything else you would like to share?
Good luck out there, graduates!