Two new PhD students welcomed by the NZAGRC

Funding capability development in the GHG emissions mitigation research arena is a key activity for the NZAGRC.

Towards the end of 2011, the NZAGRC methane core programme welcomed two new faces to Massey University and the AgResearch labs in Palmerston North.

Preeti Raju
Preeti joins the methane team from the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) in Chandigarh, India where she was working on the development of technologies for therapeutic proteins. She has a Masters degree in biotechnology from Chinmaya Degree College and a keen interest in recombinant proteins. Preeti's PhD project focuses on identifying alternative hydrogen utilisers under the co-supervision of Drs Gemma Henderson, Peter Janssen and Mike Tavendale (AgResearch) and Dr Jasna Rakonjac (Institute of Molecular Bioscience, Massey University). Preeti is climbing a steep learning curve whilst coming up to speed with the techniques and jargon used in the methane team. However she notes that she is finding picking up the new knowledge fun due to the friendly people and the supportive environment. She is looking forward to spending the next three years in New Zealand.

Yang Li
Yang recently moved to Palmerston North to start his PhD under the co-supervision of Dr Sinead Leady and Dr Graeme Attwood (AgResearch) and Dr Jasna Rakonjac (Institute of Molecular Bioscience, Massey University). Prior to the move, he completed a Masters degree in biochemistry from Otago University. The main focus of his PhD project is the investigation of rumen methanogen genomics. Whilst the area of genomics is new to Yang, he is no stranger to cows, having spent his teenage years on a 120 hectare beef farm. He acknowledges that his family tended to spend more time fixing fences than looking after the cows though! Originally from Taiwan, which he remembers as highly polluted, Yang is enjoying being involved in research that aims to make a positive difference to the environment. He is also enjoying the "flat ground" and the great student atmosphere in his new working environment and has already taken the opportunity to pelt one of his co-supervisors with paintballs in his time away from his research.

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