Helen Hoang

Helen Hoang

Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours)
Certificate in Applied Science

Her time at AUT has helped her discover her passion for marine science, says Helen Hoang whose academic journey has stretched from a certificate all the way to a PhD.

“For one of my undergraduate courses, Pacific Islands Coastal Ecology, we spent two weeks in the Solomon Islands and I was instantly drawn to the ocean. It was an unforgettable and amazing experience. I was able to not only learn a lot about coastal communities and marine ecosystems but also discovered my passion for marine science.

“Since discovering my love of marine science in my undergraduate degree, I’ve developed a strong interest in fish biology. The encouragement I received throughout my studies made it an easy decision to pursue postgraduate study in marine science and research something I love.”

Challenging existing knowledge
Fish biology is of course the focus of Helen’s PhD, which is supported by a Vice-Chancellor’s Doctoral Scholarship.

“My PhD focuses on challenging what is known about pre-programmed reproductive strategies through the study of maternal resource provisioning and gamete quality. Proteins, lipids and amino acid are valuable biomarkers that allow us to trace the flux of biologically important molecules during the reproductive phase of the New Zealand snapper and Giant Kōkopu.

“Such knowledge can be used to ascertain the cytoplasmic quality of ova, maternal provisioning of energy, and the effect of said biomarkers on reproductive success parameters such as hatching rates, larval growth and resistance to stress. My research has the potential to lead to novel insights related to reproductive strategies and success, which is highly relevant for stock and aquaculture management.”

Helen’s PhD research is supervised by Dr Armagan Sabetian from AUT’s School of Science.

A tight-knit university community
The friendships she built during her time at university have been a highlight, Helen says.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at AUT and the people I met along the way have really made it special. Being surrounded by people who share the same positive energy makes such a difference, and there’s nothing better than being surrounded by people who enjoy what they’re doing.”

She has enjoyed the sense of community she has found at AUT.

“When I was looking into my university study options, I chose AUT not only for the programmes it offers but also for the people. At AUT you really get to know your peers and  your lecturers. There’s a great community here that I wouldn’t trade.”

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