Max Blackwell

Max Blackwell

Age: 22


What are you studying and what year?
Fifth year Medicine


At what university are you studying?
University of Otago – Canterbury Campus


When were you at the GMRI?
Summer of 2013/14 and 2014/15.


What are your career aspirations?
I would love to get into either Emergency Medicine or potentially Psychiatry, though I can definitely see myself getting into more research along the way.


Why did you decide to do a studentship at the GMRI?
I was really interested in doing something a bit more relevant to my degree over the summer and I have always been interested in research.


What research were you involved in during your studentship at the GMRI?
I was looking at pyogenic granuloma (a benign vascular tumour) and trying to identify a haemogenic endothelium (a type of blood vessel that can create blood cells) as well as investigating the presence of stem cells in the lesion.


What’s the most important thing you have learned while you were at the GMRI?
The importance of collaboration and asking questions. The GMRI fosters an amazingly supportive environment and you never felt silly for asking the dumb questions (of which there were a few). This open environment facilitated the presentation of new ideas and was key in some of our successes during my studentship.


What’s the thing you liked most about your studentship at the GMRI?
I really liked the hands-on nature of it and knowing that things I was discovering had never been identified before.


What’s the most exciting thing you have done/been involved with during your studentship?
To have written my first research paper, ready for submission, and preparing another research paper on my work, both as the first author. Which is an amazing opportunity for students starting out in the field.


Would you recommend the studentship at the GMRI to other students? If so, why?
Definitely, it is a great way to get experience in research in a really supportive but challenging environment … and it’s much better than doing dishes all summer!


What has your practical experience at the GMRI taught you that university can’t, or hasn’t?
What a career in research is really like, an insight into not just the lab work but everything else that goes into getting things ready for publication.


How do you think the studentship at the GMRI will help your career development?
It’s a great way to get research experience which will make it easier down the track if I want to get involved in more research.


What have you achieved since you completed the studentship at the GMRI?
I have submitted a paper on my work for publication in an international medical journal.