College of Science | Te Rāngai Pūtaiao
“What I have enjoyed most is carrying out real research in a laboratory setting.”
Having already completed a Bachelor of Science (BSc) and a BSc (Hons) majoring in biochemistry, Michael is furthering his expertise by seeking to understand the molecular details of proteins.
Looking at their structure, function and how they interact in a pathway with other proteins, he hopes to increase scientific understanding in the fields of food processing, medicine and disease.
“Proteins are ubiquitous in nature and are involved in many roles in a cell,” he says.
“One of the techniques I hope to use involves making tiny discs that suspend a membrane protein in a very similar environment to which it is normally found. Traditionally these proteins are difficult to work with as they don’t like being removed from their environment. The discs are about 10 billionths of a meter across, which I think is pretty cool!”
UC seemed the ideal tertiary institution for Michael. He had lived on the West Coast for 18 years, so in addition to being close to his home town, it offered a thought-provoking range of science topics. He began university life studying a mix of geology, biology and chemistry in his first year, specialising in biochemistry from his second year on.
“What I have enjoyed most is carrying out real research in a laboratory setting.
“I was fortunate enough to be offered a summer scholarship at UC at the end of my BSc which introduced me to the research environment. I really enjoyed working in a research lab and the kind of work that I was doing and so I stayed in the same lab group for my honours year and now for my PhD.”
Michael’s supervisors are Associate Professor Renwick Dobson at UC and Dr Michael Griffin at the University of Melbourne.