PechaKucha Presenter: Timothy Sexton

PK - TimSextonProfile

Tim is a true blue Australian from the land down under. He grew up on a farm with big Eucalyptus trees out the front and real Kangaroos out the back. Tim went on to complete a Bachelor of Science with Honours, majoring in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology at James Cook University, Townsville, Australia. During his undergraduate Tim made a name for himself with two published studies revealing genetic and biochemical insights into two specialized photosynthetic pathways. After completing his undergraduate Tim moved onto take on a Doctor of Philosophy at Southern Cross University, in Lismore Australia, where Dr. Sexton published his thesis titled a Genetic Understanding of Wood Quality in Eucalyptus pilularis. In a nut shell, his research succeeded to identify the letters in the DNA code that meant that one tree would grow up to be big and fat with good wood quality, while the alternate letters in the DNA code meant another tree would be small and skinny with poor wood quality.

Tim’s employment history has also been colourful, starting as a humble cart collector at Safeway and moving put the ranks to nightfall and vegetable presentation. Tim has also held other character building jobs like de-sapping mangos and stacking timber slabs directly from a mobile sawmill. After his undergraduate degree, Tim took a short job with the Queensland Government to identify the genes and letters in the DNA code responsible for flavour of mangoes.

After completing his PhD, Dr. Sexton was recruited to UBC to apply his skills and help develop DNA based tools that could be used to select for insect resistance help tree breeders in Canada. Dr. Sexton is now wrapping up two postdoc projects at UBC aimed to identify letters in the DNA code responsible for insect resistance in Spruce and wood durability in Western Redcedar; the Spruce Marker Technologies for Sustainable Forests (SMarTForests) and Cedar Enhanced Durability and Resistance (CEDaR) projects respectively. Dr Sexton’s next ambition is to now control his own destiny and quit working for ‘the man’.

In 2014, Tim was scared about turning 30 and began the journey to realize the start-up of his own genomics company, with help from g.e@UBC & e@UBC Tim’s idea was incorporated as BLAST-seq Genomics Inc. a DNA testing company for Agribusinesses. Never letting a good opportunity slide by, Tim also founded a new type of dating service called “DNA romance Ltd” that plans to match make singles based on the compatibility of their DNA.

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