Mogana (Morgan) Kumaar Manivannan

Mogana (Morgan) Kumaar Manivannan

Marine Science and Feed Technician, The New Zealand Abalone Company (TNZAC), Bluff
Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science

He has always been fascinated by science and how it is applied to the bigger context of all living organisms, says Morgan who came to AUT as an international student from Malaysia to study a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science.

“The application of biomedical science and technology helps individuals understand how scientific phenomena occur in all living organisms. By using the appropriate technology, this can be further refined and optimised for improved human wellbeing and the ecosystem.

“Ultimately using biomedical science and technology to improve diagnostics and improve current therapeutics known to mankind will make the world a better place to live in.”

Innovative and relevant research
Being able to work on multiple industry-related projects was the highlight of his studies at AUT, says Morgan who received a Ministry for Primary Industries Undergraduate Research Scholarship in the third year to support his studies.

“My main highlight would be sampling abalones (Paua) at the MOANA Aquaculture farm in Ruakaka. This study exposed me to the bigger picture of industrial scale Paua breeding and farming, which is quite a rare opportunity not many people get to experience.

“I also enjoyed working as a research assistant during the summer break, working on several different projects, from aquaculture feed technology to cattle skin toxicity testing using different formulations. This experience provided me with knowledge across multiple modern biomedical technologies.”

He would highly recommend undertaking the final-year Research Project paper, says Morgan.

“This paper provides exposure to real-life experience in the working environment. The research element within the paper enables students to shape the direction of their future career. This was certainly the case for me, and the research I was working on has helped me pursue a career in the aquaculture industry.”

Making a difference in the aquaculture industry
Since graduating, Morgan works at The New Zealand Abalone Company (TNZAC), based in Bluff.

“I’m working on different types of feed formulations for abalone (Paua). This includes ingredient alterations and ratio alterations to come up with the best applicable ‘recipe’ depending on the various growth stages of the animals. I’m also monitoring and studying the growth and overall health of the different species nurtured.

“We work within the context of sustainability and minimising the harm to the environment, while still being able to produce premium products.”

He enjoys being able to draw on the skills he developed through his research at AUT and applying them in the industry, Morgan says.

Advice for other students
Morgan, who graduated at the end of 2018, has some great advice for other students.

“Studying a field, you have a genuine interest in will ensure the driving force and self-motivation towards success. It will ultimately be more enjoyable and rewarding knowing that you’ve achieved something you’ve got an interest in.”

As an international student studying abroad may seem a little overwhelming at first, he adds.

“This is mainly due to the new environment and the expectation to perform at a world-class university level. But with constant hard work and dedication towards academia, it was possible for me to overcome the difficulties and strive towards excellence. I also found the resources provided by AUT for international student were very helpful and welcoming. The academic staff also offered excellent support throughout the journey.

“One last piece of advice is to make sure you find the right balance between study and social time. Make the most of this crucial time in your life because the university experience is something that will lay the foundation for greater success in future.”

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