Andrew is currently enrolled in a Master’s of Science (Research) Program at the University of Waikato. This is a two-year continuation from his Bachelor’s degree. This has him working in the lab each day, attending conferences, and giving guest talks at schools in Hamilton.
Andrew is extremely passionate about his area of research (molecular genetics) and firmly believes that a genetic understanding is necessary for future healthcare and drug development. His goal is to be able to provide something of value to his field – to be able to recognise his contribution in helping to build a better future.
Andrew grew up on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. He moved back to New Zealand and enrolled in a university preparation course at the Western Institute of Technology Taranaki, where his interest in Biological Sciences, specifically genetics and molecular biology, would be further cultivated. He attended the University of Waikato for his undergraduate degree, and with the support and encouragement from family and staff, decided to pursue genetics and molecular biology further.
His research project involves using a specialized 3D BioPrinter which allows cells to be grown in a more specialized environment. He is growing breast cancer cells which have a specific mutation in their DNA, and then he will analyse what these cells look like compared to cells which are not grown in 3D. Then he is going to expose these cancer cells to Selenium – which is known to have anti-cancer effects on cells, and analyse the effect it has.
For our owners thinking about tertiary education, Andrew has this advice – “You’re the only one who knows what you’re interested in. Don’t let friends or family bully you into or away from what you’re interested in. At the end of the day, it’s your project, degree, or course. It doesn’t matter what others say about it – if you enjoy it and are passionate about it, that’s all that matters”.
Andrew says persistency and tenacity are great skills to have. Never give up. There will be rubbish days, and you just have to be able to pick yourself up and deal with it.
In the future Andrew aims to undertake a PhD. It’s usually the next step for a research scientist, and he is definitely passionate enough about molecular biology to make a career out of it.
Update October 2018
Andrew has been offered a fully paid PhD Scholarship at The University of Waikato to commence at the submission of his MSc.
He acknowledges NRAIT and is grateful for the support he has received which has allowed him to take up this opportunity.