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Newsletter - September 2013

In this newsletter, we showcase some of the people currently working in biotechnology in New Zealand who also feature in the content on our site. These profiles help to highlight the range of cutting-edge developments in this sector and provide insight into the variety of career opportunities they generate.

Careers in biotechnology

The Hub currently features 66 profiles of people working in biotechnology in New Zealand. Our people profiles describe the nature of the work these people are involved in and the motivation and educational pathways that led them to their current position. The profiles include young men and women from a wide variety of backgrounds and with a range of personal interests. They help to show scientists as ordinary people and provide insight for students into the wide range of exciting job opportunities in the sector.

Our profiles reflect the breadth of our content ranging from traditional to cutting-edge biotechnology. Here are some examples:

Marion Woodcock – research assistant in the Transgenic Animal Research Group at AgResearch. Marion’s passion for science started at high school and continued at university where she was inspired by an academic paper about the first cloned animal, Dolly. That’s when she decided that she wanted to be involved in cutting-edge research. Learn more in our Transgenic cows focus story.

Richard Espley – scientist working in plant genetics at Plant & Food Research. Richard’s current job involves investigating the genetic basis of how plants control the way they make colour, for example, in fruit. Richard sums up the variety of his work in the following sentence: “The work ranges from beautiful orchards in Hawke’s Bay to the high-tech lab in Auckland, and I love that variety and the opportunities to keep learning.” Learn more about Richard’s work in our Breeding red-fleshed apples focus story.

Miel Meyer – cheesemaker and general manager at Meyer Gouda Cheese in Hamilton. Miel enjoyed maths and science at school and went on to study biochemistry and microbiology at the University of Waikato and forensic science at Auckland University. He worked at AgResearch, specialising in microbiology and genetics before taking over the family cheesemaking business. Learn more about Miel’s work in our Cheesemaking focus story.

Jessica Feickert is completing her Master of Science (MSc) at Leigh Marine Laboratory. Her research looks at the life cycle of the New Zealand pea crab, which lives inside green-lipped mussels. The ultimate aim of the project is to explore ways to stop pea crabs from settling in mussels on mussel farms. Learn more about Jessica’s research in our Farming green-lipped mussels focus story.

More people and careers

Science and technology curriculum links

Our resources have links to the science and technology curricula. Our focus stories explore the science underpinning biotechnology developments plus issues they address, the process of development and current and potential impact on society and the environment.

The controversial nature of many biotechnologies also offers the ideal platform to explore ethical issues and how people’s perceptions and acceptance of technologies can impact on their development. Our teaching ideas include unit plans that link exclusively to science or technology, while some have links to both curricula, including From bees to bandages, The properties of honey, Ethics and pig cell transplants and Ethics of transgenic cows.

Making the most of social media

The internet makes available a vast array of resources and tools with potential to enrich teaching and learning. However, the sheer scale and rapidly changing nature of this resource can also be a challenge. Pinterest offers an easy way to organise internet-based content for your own reference or to share with colleagues or students in the classroom.
We’re using Pinterest to present our resources in different collections, organising them around themes and topics to make them accessible and make connections across the site. Our latest boards include Careers in biotech, Teaching ethical thinking, Biocontrol and Selective breeding.

You do not need a Pinterest account to view our boards. Simply follow the links above or view our increasing collection of boards at http://pinterest.com/nzbiotechlearn/boards/.

News and events

Keep up to date with the latest biotechnology news, events and radio broadcasts. The articles below are highlights from our weekly news feature.

Understanding meningitis key to halting spread – News item
Recent research by Dr Claire Swain, a Victoria University PhD graduate working at Environmental Science and Research (ESR), has shown that environmental conditions are a key factor in survival rates for meningococcal bacteria.

First biosensor for detecting lactose in waste streams – News item
A biosensor developed by Lincoln University researchers to detect lactose in waste streams is set to upgrade milk processing in New Zealand to the next level.

Kiwifruit Psa disease genetics – RNZ audio
Scientists are looking for resistance genes so kiwifruit plants can withstand the Psa bacterium’s effector genes.

More news and events

Contact us

We’d like to hear from you if you’re using Hub resources in the classroom or if you’re interested in helping us develop new resources. Please email enquiries@biotechlearn.org.nz, and we’ll be in touch.

Best wishes
The Biotechnology Learning Hub team


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