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Unexpected directions make new maps

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Unexpected directions make new maps

22 October, 2020

The path to CEO of a startup is never straightforward, but University of Auckland and MacDiarmid Institute alumnus Dr Kyle Webster has taken the idea of the ‘long road’ to an extreme.

His tertiary study path initially took him towards a BBMedSci, but he soon changed route and completed a BSc in biotechnology, followed by a BCom in economics. He’s shown continued persistence and discipline by running marathons and triathlons alongside completing a PhD in biochemistry with University of Auckland and MacDiarmid Institute researcher Professor Juliet Gerrard.

Kyle had followed his academic supervisor, Professor Gerrard, when she moved to the University of Auckland to take up a Professorship in Biochemistry. He was the initial 'coal face' protein person in a MacDiarmid Institute led collaboration with engineers, chemists, and physicists. Along with his supervisor, the collaboration included University of Auckland MacDiarmid researchers Professor David WilliamsProfessor Penny BrothersDr Laura DomiganDr Jenny Malmstrom, and Victoria University of Wellington Dr Simon Granville along with collaborators in Beijing.

Kyle says that while he enjoyed the research of the PhD, the study piqued other interests too.

“I was frustrated by the limited tools available to effectively make use of the literature. Now Litmaps is working to improve the way research is done.”

Set up by Kyle during his PhD, Litmaps is a MacDiarmid Institute affiliated startup through Kyle that builds search and visualisation technology for academic literature using the citation network to provide access to a cohesive network of relevant research. After a long but rewarding process of research and development to commercialising and beta tests, Kyle is happy to announce that Litmaps will soon have a new product to release.

He says he’s glad to be working in a role that combines many of his interests of Artificial Intelligence (AI), system network science, as well as making a large impact in academia and society.

Profile v3

 A bit like his journey, Kyle says that his role as CEO requires him to constantly develop and follow different directions, whether that’s in business development, stakeholder relations or even development of staff and where to buy the best technology from.

Have a go, then you will start to learn what works and doesn’t work.

Dr Kyle Webster CEO at Litmaps

Despite all the directional changes in his education and career path, Kyle believes real change happens when you stick with something to make small incremental progress.

“When things have gone well, it’s been down to sustained discipline and patience."