Have you met… Nadir Erbilgin?

Have you met Nadir, Professor in the Department of Renewable Resources and Director of the Field Research Office? Spend a few minutes…

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Have you met Nadir, Professor in the Department of Renewable Resources and Director of the Field Research Office? Spend a few minutes getting to know him a little better.

First: you’re working on campus part time. What’s it like?

It’s a great feeling. When you’re working at home, you don’t really see the big picture. So I feel more of a sense of being part of a community, part of the university. It inspires me. I’d like to see it full of people again, but unfortunately that’s not going to happen for a while.

I don’t come to campus all of the time — we had a machine break down, and I have to fix it. That’s why I’m here.

What is your role on the Public Health Response Team (PHRT)?

I’m an academic, but I’ve been the director of the field research office since 2019. Since COVID-19 hit, that’s become my full time job. I sit on the research impact team, and I’m part of the PHRT. There are a lot of programs and students that depend on field research, and we had to figure out how to do field research safely.

What I’ve liked is that the goal is quite simple: make things easier for researchers. It was a huge task, but I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished. We had to stop for a while, obviously, but we got field research back up and running shortly. Everyone can go into the field right now.

What’s your first U of A memory?

My first U of A memory is house hunting. I don’t remember the interview at all… but after I was offered the job, we went house hunting and we looked through 20 houses in two days — that was memorable.

That was in 2007, when I came from UC Berkeley.

If you were enrolling in one course, program or degree right now, what would it be?

Either marine biology or ornithology — I love birds.

If you could see any live performance tomorrow, what would it be?

I love opera, I would like to see an opera again. Doesn’t matter who’s performing, I’d just like to go again. Or watch a nice hockey game.

What’s something your coworkers don’t know about you?

That’s tough, I’m a very open-book person. Maybe that I like the BBC Classic series — Jane Austen — I watch them very carefully.

You can invite anyone — alive or dead, real or fictional — to dinner. Who would it be?

My post-doctoral supervisor, David Wood, from UC Berkley. I love that guy very much. He’s over 80 now, still active, and one of the most wonderful people you’ll ever meet in your life. He made me who I am.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

I’d tell myself that every downside always comes with an upside. Just be patient, and keep working hard.

What’s your favourite distraction?

Pokemon Go. I like walking around on campus or in my neighbourhood; it’s relaxing, and it pushes me to get out and do something completely different.

My wife is also a fanatic, so we go hunt pokemon together.

What’s a weird pet peeve you have?

I think just seeing things breaking down… I like to see things function properly.

What’s your favourite lunch or snack to enjoy while working from home?

I don’t eat lunch… I just eat two meals a day. Otherwise I become sleepy.

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

My wife. She’s my best friend.

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Nadir is a Professor in the Department of Renewable Resources and Director of the Field Research Office. He earned his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of California-Berkeley before moving to Edmonton in 2007. His research explores the invasion of forests by organisms such as Mountain Pine Beetle.