Our alumni stories » The MacDiarmid Institute
Our alumni stories

What we do

Our alumni stories

Screenshot of alumna Dr Nihan Aydemir's videoThe true impact of the MacDiarmid Institute is the contribution our alumni make in industry, academia, public service and through their own start-up companies.

Their contributions are helping generate a culture change where science and innovation are celebrated as the keys to New Zealand’s future prosperity.

Our alumni have amazing careers and stories and some are shared here together with short videos about their work. More information on our alumni can also be found on the alumni LinkedIn page.

Dr Nihan Aydemir and bees

Research scientist 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 mobile phones that can ‘smell’.

Read more about Dr Nihan Aydemir and bees

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.

Read more about Dr Matthew Cowan and solar energy

Dr Brendan Darby and cloudy liquids

Dr Brendan Darby has helped develop a new technique to analyse 'cloudy' solutions, which is being used in industries such as viticulture and water treatment.

Read more about Dr Brendan Darby and cloudy liquids

Dr Kirsten Edgar and tech disruption

Dr Kirsten Edgar is a futures insights manager at Callaghan Innovation and helps businesses embrace new technology to advance their products and services.

Read more about Dr Kirsten Edgar and tech disruption

Dr Elf Eldridge and hackers

After specialising in nanotechnology for his PhD in Physics, Dr Elf Eldridge is now a cyber security analyst at Cyber Toa.

Read more about Dr Elf Eldridge and hackers

Dr Rebecca Hawke and travelling the world

Dr Rebecca Hawke is using her PhD in Physics to investigate how to control droplets on a surface to address a range of needs such as easy health diagnostic tools.

Read more about Dr Rebecca Hawke and travelling the world

Dr Bhuvana Kannan and nanofibres

Dr Bhuvana Kannan is a Research and Innovation Manager at Revolution Fibres Ltd, a world-leading nanofibre production company based in Auckland.

Read more about Dr Bhuvana Kannan and nanofibres

Dr Julie Kho and explosions

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

Read more about Dr Julie Kho and explosions

Dr Jon Kitchen and The Kitchen Group

Dr Jon Kitchen completed his PhD and Postdoctoral Research with the MacDiarmid Institute and now he and students at Massey University collaborate internationally on supramolecular materials chemistry.

Read more about Dr Jon Kitchen and The Kitchen Group

Dr Cosmin Laslau and Lux Research

Dr Laslau was one of the team to start up MESA, the MacDiarmid Emerging Scientists Association. He is now Director of Research Products at Lux Research in Boston.

Read more about Dr Cosmin Laslau and Lux Research

Dr Ojas Mahapatra and Photonic Innovations

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.

Read more about Dr Ojas Mahapatra and Photonic Innovations

Keoni Mahelona and Te Reo Māori

MacDiarmid Institute alumnus and former Fulbright Scholar Keoni Mahelona is using new technology to bring the Māori language to the world.

Read more about Keoni Mahelona and Te Reo Māori

Dr Andrew Preston and Publons

After gaining a PhD at MacDiarmid, Dr Andrew Preston launched Publons, an online service to incentivise peer reviewing.

Read more about Dr Andrew Preston and Publons

Dr Harry Warring and Rocket Lab

Dr Harry Warring says the skills he picked up during his MacDiarmid Institute PhD were easily transferred to the hi-tech sector and his job as Senior Vehicle Test Engineer at Rocket Lab.

Read more about Dr Harry Warring and Rocket Lab

Dr Nick White and the Australian National University

Dr Nick White’s involvement with the MacDiarmid Institute paved the way for his PhD at Oxford University, a Postdoctorate Fellowship at the University of British Columbia and a lectureship at Australian National University.

Read more about Dr Nick White and the Australian National University