Patricia Hingston, Instructor
When she was younger, Patricia Hingston thought she would become a dentist but her interest in microbiology unexpectedly led her down a different path – and into food sciences.
She officially joined Land and Food Systems on July 1 as an Instructor, where she teaches food microbiology and oversees third- and fourth-year food science lab courses. Hingston was already familiar with the university as she just completed her PhD here in May. During her studies she worked as an LFS Sessional Instructor and as a Teaching Assistant in the courses Exploring our Foods and Microorganisms in Food Systems.
As an undergraduate student at Dalhousie University, she had planned to become an orthodontist. Her aptitude for research and ability to win NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards meant that she spent three summers working in a food microbiology lab. Her fate was sealed during those summers.
“My undergraduate research made me interested in food science and I ended up switching into the program and graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Food Science. What I especially love about food science is that it applies the three main branches of science (biology, chemistry, physics) to solve issues surrounding food production and safety,” Hingston said.
After completing her bachelor degree, Patricia’s undergraduate research supervisor offered to arrange for her to participate in a research exchange at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, if she pursued a master’s degree in food science. Patricia took the bait and eventually obtained a MSc in Food Microbiology from Dalhousie University.
In 2013, she travelled across the country to UBC Vancouver to start her PhD in Food Science. She won an Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate scholarship and studied under Associate Professor Siyun Wang. Her research focused on explaining stress survival mechanisms used by the human foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes to survive in food and food processing environments.
She brings an enthusiasm to teaching that stems from the joy of bringing real-world examples into the classroom and showing the application of science. She also enjoys helping her students navigate career pathways in the field.