From Postdoc at Queens in the Department of Medicine to Tenure-Track at York - Meet Devin Phillips

Postdoctoral Fellow in Medicine
Devin Phillips

Written by Niya St. Amant

Devin Phillips, a Postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medicine, has recently accepted a tenure-track faculty position in the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences at York University. This accomplishment was cemented, in large part, because of his time at Queen’s University in the Department of Medicine.

Devin began his postdoctoral fellowship at Queens in March 2020, the same week of the first Covid-19 lockdown. Despite this, Devin managed to take full advantage of his opportunity at Queen’s. Covid could have caused Devin to go stagnant, but he contends that “through all the Covid chaos and uncertainty, I landed on my feet.” Devin explains, “I have to give a lot of credit to Queens, the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs and the Department of Medicine for, especially during Covid, providing structure, stability and mentorship, which helped keep me moving forward."

In the Department of Medicine, Devin worked out of the Kingston General Hospital. Completing his postdoc at the hospital gave him many unique experiences. Some of these unique experiences included attending medical grand rounds and various clinical science lectures. Devin explains, “As a non-physician working in clinical physiology, physician insights are really important. Long term, I plan on researching people living with disease, and learning how to network and build relationships with clinical scientists is paramount to facilitate this type of applied research”.

Among many of the opportunities presented to him at Queens, Devin owes much of his success to the mentorship received during this time: “At Queens, the mentorship I received consolidated my graduate training and helped develop me into an independent researcher. Working at Queen’s was a key catalyst to help round out my skills.” While at Queen’s, Devin had the opportunity to be a lead author on a publication that he believes helped him on his employment search. Devin explains that the project was “a national longitudinal cohort study, called the CanCOLD study. It’s a 9-site longitudinal study tracking individuals that are smokers and non-smokers with and without obstructive lung disease. I was able to take some of that data and put together a paper that was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.” Devin goes on to explain that this opportunity allowed him to “really hammer home my scientific writing and analysis skills, but also my networking since there was 15 co-authors from institutions across Canada.” Devin also credits the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs for his success since he was able to complete a mock interview just shortly before his interview at York, which allowed him to prepare for the process.

Devin is excited to start his career as an independent researcher at York University. Devin explains, “I am looking forward to building collaborations.” At York, he hopes to keep learning and growing as an exercise physiologist, where he can continue researching “the link between health and lung function.” Wherever his career or research goes moving forward though, Devin claims, “I will be eternally grateful to Queens. I am very proud of my time here and I will look back fondly on my memories."