Dr Tim Weil joins us from the University of Cambridge in the UK.

Tim and Laura enjoying the sights on the road to Milford Sound

Where have you come from, and what do you teach?
I’m a member of the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge. There I predominately teach cell and developmental biology to all year groups. My training in genetics, biochemistry, and microscopy enables me to highlight how cells are regulated, patterned, and organised during the construction of an organism. I grew up outside of Chicago (IL), then completing my undergraduate degree in St. Louis (MO) and PhD in Princeton (NJ). As a postdoc in Oxford (UK), I was fortunate to also spend time living in Edinburgh (UK) and Utrecht (NL), before starting my group in 2013 in Cambridge (UK).

What interested you in the Erskine Programme/why did you want to come to UC?
It was the opportunity to experience a different culture, meet new people, and learn how the academic courses are delivered. UC came highly recommended by my Cambridge colleagues, and I viewed the visit as a great chance to make connections with the students and staff here.

What have you been doing at UC?
At UC I have been lecturing is the SBS, attending practicals, delivering seminars, and meeting with different group leaders. The rest of the time I café-hop around campus and work on manuscripts, talks, grants, and lectures. My wife and I have also become regular visitors to the Rec Centre, where we enjoy the friendly group fitness classes and pick-up basketball games.

What have you most enjoyed about your time here at UC/Christchurch?
Everything! But if I were forced to list a few I have to start with the curiosity of the students and their willingness to engage in both scientific and general discussions. The members of the department have been extremely friendly and keen to interact with me. I have had a superb academic host, Ashley Garrill, who has been an inspiration to watch teach and introduced me to many people at UC. The teaching spaces, with the open atriums, cafes, study areas and social spaces, have also made teaching and working on campus very enjoyable.

My wife and I have found the campus atmosphere vibrant and welcoming. The relaxed ethos, highlighted in the number of skateboards and barefoot pedestrians around, coupled with a sense of harmony with the environment, has been refreshing. 

It goes without saying that the spectacular landscape and outdoor life have also been a highlight. As is the ease of travel, especially the Christchurch Airport, and welcoming of visitors has made the adventures all the more pleasurable.