Doctor of Philosophy candidate
After studying biology and biotechnology, Doctor of Philosophy candidate Seyedehsara (Sara) Masoomi Dezfooli wanted to apply her knowledge to real-life biomedical and environmental issues.
“There’s high demand for multidisciplinary research that responds to global environmental problems,” she says.
Her own ground-breaking research focuses on improving the aquaculture industry in New Zealand by developing a strategy to increase the total production of marine animals while improving the sustainability of farming practices.
“Aquaculture plays an important role in supplying food for the world’s ever-growing population. One of the main problems in aquaculture around the world is disease outbreaks, but applying chemical agents and veterinary medicines to control those diseases endangers the environment. Green strategies such as the application of probiotics have been widely established for health enhancement in aquaculture. The aim of my research is to develop novel systems for delivering bioactive agents such as probiotics, nutrients and vaccines to farmed aquatic animals with minimum impact on the environment.
“This is multidisciplinary research that involves biomedical science, microbiology, drug delivery, nanotechnology and marine biology. It’s a challenging project, but it’s exciting and I want to make a positive impact on society and the New Zealand economy.”
Strong industry connections
AUT was the right fit for her postgraduate studies because of its close links with New Zealand industries and businesses, says Sara who is Iranian and came to AUT as an international student.
“What is fascinating about AUT is the constant interaction between the university and different New Zealand industries.
“Having scientists and researchers who are linked to businesses and industries is one of AUT’s greatest strength.”
AUT’s unique environment
Sara, who received a Vice-Chancellor’s Doctoral Scholarship to support her studies, says that AUT has many qualities that make it an excellent environment.
“Friendly staff and students mean that we work as one happy family. AUT has the most wonderful professors, advisors and mentors who lead you towards the right path. You’ll build your confidence by doing research and problem solving, while being supported by people who believe in you.”
She also appreciates the many opportunities available to students.
“I’ve had several opportunities to present my research nationally and internationally. I’ve also been involved in different academic activities, including lecturing, curriculum development, journal reviewing and book editing. This has been invaluable experience that I could only have at AUT. Choosing AUT was the best decision I’ve made.”