Highlights //

Young MWC scientists drive upskilling of peers nationwide

The Maurice Wilkins Centre is committed to developing a new generation of scientific leaders. In 2018, our Early Career Steering Committee, a talented and vibrant group of young leaders, organised two educational workshops and a ‘Future Science Day’. These provided excellent learning outcomes for their peers from all over New Zealand, as well as opportunities to meet and network

The first workshop in April introduced young scientists to current microscopic and imaging techniques and consisted of a series of short talks by experts from Otago, Victoria, Massey, and Auckland universities. Topics included the latest microscopy technology and techniques, future directions in the field of microscopy, and pragmatic advice on how to gain access to advanced equipment and facilities both within New Zealand and overseas.

The Committee hosted a second workshop on flow cytometry in August, facilitated by Dr Anna Brooks, an MWC Senior Research Fellow and leading flow cytometry expert at the University of Auckland. Attendees, many of whom were new to the technology, were treated to an informative introduction and the types of instrumentation available to MWC investigators.

At the end of the year, the Committee also organised the third annual ‘Future Science Day’ in conjunction with the MWC’s Annual Research Symposium. Held at the University of Auckland in early December, this year’s theme was ‘networking’.

“The aim was to encourage MWC affiliates to meet other affiliates and experts in particular fields to facilitate collaboration and research,” said Joanna. “Alongside the networking and ‘meet the expert’ events, we had an exciting series of talks from our peers, selected from submitted abstracts. This was followed by a very well attended, vibrant poster session featuring over 50 posters.”

A special awards ceremony saw best oral presentation prizes going to Effie Fan from Victoria University of Wellington (1st place) and Jennifer Eom from the University of Auckland (2nd place). Best poster presentations went to Elyse Williams (1st place), Aqfan Jamaluddin (2nd place) and Regan Fu (highly commended), all from the University of Auckland.

“Organising the future science day can be very challenging,” said Joanna. “However, committee members gain many important skills from organising these events, for example critiquing of abstracts from a wide range of topics and more importantly how to work together as a team. Being part of the ECR committee increases our network of colleagues outside our fields of expertise, equips us with the skills to identify and approach key people for organising workshops, critically evaluate others work, and increases our personal profiles within the MWC and the wider scientific community.”


Early Career

The MWC Early Career Steering Committee at the end of 2018. Back row l-r: Catherine Tsai , Marina Rajic, Joanna Hicks (Chair). Front row, l-r: Euan Roger, Iman Kavianinia, Kate Lee, Wanting Jiao, Indigo Matisi. Absent: Sunali Mehta.