Alumni stories - Annual Report 2018

News & events

Alumni stories - Annual Report 2018

8 April, 2019

Over 850 MacDiarmid Institute alumni are now using their expertise to make amazing scientific breakthroughs, mentor students, achieve commercial success, and be business leaders. Our alumni have amazing stories to tell.

We created short (90 second) videos for school students who are considering whether to continue with science, to show them some of the many different places (mostly outside academia) where science studies might take them. The videos are all available at MacDiarmid alumni videos - Annual Report 2018.

Dr Nihan Aydemir and bees

A postdoctoral chemist at Plant and Food Research, Dr Nihan Aydemir is focused on mimicking how insects use proteins to smell. Her ultimate aim is to insert biosensors into cellphones that can smell explosives and illegal drugs at airports.

Dr Julie Kho and technical sales

Dr Julie Kho has a PhD in chemistry and uses her expertise to help other scientists access the best scientific equipment for their needs.

Dr Matthew Cowan and solar energy

MacDiarmid Institute Associate Investigator, Dr Matthew Cowan, is a chemical engineer at the University of Canterbury. His current research, in partnership with a chemical engineering group, is focused on how we can make the most out of solar energy.

Dr Rebecca Hawke and travelling the world

Dr Rebecca Hawke is currently using her PhD in Physics to investigate how to control droplets on a surface. This work could address a range of needs such as easy health diagnostic tools. Her exciting career in science has taken her all over the world.

Dr Brendan Darby and cloudy liquid

Dr Brendan Darby has a PhD in physics and has helped develop a new technique to analyse ‘cloudy’ solutions. This technique has been commercialised and is being used in industries such as viticulture and water treatment.

Dr Elf Eldridge and hackers

Dr Elf Eldridge is a cyber security analyst at Cybertoa. For his PhD in physics he specialised in nanotechnology, in particular working out a method to affordably and easily detect nanoparticles.

Dr Ojas Mahapatra and Photonic Innovations

Dr Ojas Mahapatra came to New Zealand from India on a MacDiarmid Institute doctoral scholarship. He is now CEO of Photonic Innovations, which creates ultra-sensitive gas detection equipment.

Dr Bhuvana Kannan and nanofibres

Dr Bhuvana Kannan works as a Research and Innovation Manager at Revolution Fibres – a nanofibre production company based in Auckland.

Dr Kirsten Edgar and tech disruption

Dr Kirsten Edgar is a futures insights manager at Callaghan Innovation. She uses her degree in history combined with her PhD in chemistry to help New Zealand businesses embrace new technology to advance their products and services.

Dr Harry Warring and Rocket Lab

Dr Harry Warring is now Senior Vehicle Test Engineer at Rocket Lab. Harry submitted his physics PhD thesis on a Thursday, interviewed for Rocket Lab on the Friday and started work a week later. He says the skills he picked up during his MacDiarmid Institute PhD were easily transferred to the hi-tech sector.