Kristina Wornell

Kristina Wornell

Doctor of Philosophy candidate

She is fascinated by marine microbiology, particularly symbiotic relationships in the marine environment, says Kristina Wornell who is currently completing a PhD in marine biology.

“For my PhD, I’m working on discovering a novel bacterial growth factor; a discovery that will help generate protein products for the global food industry. This new growth factor could also enable us to grow previously unculturable bacteria in the laboratory for the first time. This would be an important finding for the wider scientific community.

“This PhD project perfectly matches my research interests, as I’m studying bacteria in the fish gut that have a symbiotic relationship with the host fish.”

Kristina’s research is supervised by Professor Lindsey White from AUT’s School of Science, and is part of a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment funded project.

An easy decision
Her PhD is the natural next step in her career as a scientist, says Kristina who came to AUT as an international student from the UK.

“This PhD builds on my previous laboratory experience with bacterial culture, for example my master’s degree, where I studied marine sediment bacteria at the University of East Anglia in the UK. I aim to continue studying bacteria in the marine environment throughout my academic career.”

Choosing to study at AUT was an easy decision for her.

“AUT is a modern university, with modern facilities and a modern PhD structure. There’s great flexibility in your PhD journey, which enables students to take control of their research. This encourages innovation and leads to the generation of meaningful research.”

A thriving research community
She would highly recommend doctoral study at AUT to other students, says Kristina.

“There’s a brilliant community of people at AUT who can help you achieve your research goals. AUT also gives its PhD students quite a lot of control over how resources and time are spent. I believe that this has been beneficial to my studies, enabling me to advance through my laboratory work quickly.”

Expecting to complete her PhD in 2022, Kristina already has a good idea what she wants to do next.

“I’m planning to become a postdoctorate to gain more diverse research experience, continue my academic career and publish original research in the field of marine microbiology.”

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