Frederica Steiner MBChB
What are you studying and what year?
I have now finished my medical study and I am working as a second year House Officer (junior doctor) at Wellington and Hutt Hospitals.
At what university are you studying?
I was studying Medicine at the University of Otago – Wellington Campus.
When were you at the GMRI?
The summer of 2011/12 and 2012/13. I continue to work with the GMRI on research projects.
What are your career aspirations?
My goal is to become a paediatrician in order to help tackle the issue of child poverty in New Zealand, and make a valuable difference for our future generations. I hope to be able to continue to carry out research alongside my clinical work.
Why did you decide to do a studentship at the GMRI?
I heard Dr Tan give a talk about the GMRI when I was in my third year of medical school. His research was so interesting and exciting. I knew that it was something I wanted to get involved in!
What research were you involved in during your studentship at the GMRI?
I have done two projects:
1) Firstly, looking at venous malformations (a type of vascular birthmark) in NZ and the effectiveness of different treatments.
2) Secondly, looking at the development of trismus (restricted jaw opening) in head and neck cancer patients secondary to treatment, and how this affects their quality of life.
What’s the most important thing you have learned while you were at the GMRI?
I think doing research teaches you very valuable skills such as organisation and time management. However, I think the most important thing we have all learned about is the exciting results of our projects!
What’s the thing you liked most about your studentship at the GMRI?
I’ve really enjoyed working with a great team at the GMRI. It’s an amazing feeling when you accomplish something and your work is recognised not only in NZ but worldwide.
What’s the most exciting thing you have done/been involved with during your studentship?
My work has resulted in three publications in peer-reviewed journals, one paper being prepared and seven presentations in international meetings. As part of my research I was able to go into an operating theatre and an interventional radiology suite to see how we currently treat venous malformations and head and neck cancers. This helps you to understand what these patients have to go through. I was also able to go to clinics and meet most of the patients in person, which was a good motivation to keep going with my research.
Would you recommend the studentship at the GMRI to other students? If so, why?
I would definitely recommend this to other students. It is a fantastic opportunity to work alongside a supportive team and produce a piece of research that will make a difference in that field.
What has your practical experience at the GMRI taught you that university can’t, or hasn’t?
As mentioned above, it teaches you how to work effectively as part of a team, and skills such as time management and organisation. At university everything is structured, whereas with research anything can happen, so it is a good thing to experience especially if you are planning on doing some research in the future.
How do you think the studentship at the GMRI will help your career development?
As a doctor, you are expected to carry out research throughout your career, and so this studentship has given me an opportunity to start this early on. An added benefit is that published papers look great on a CV! In the future, I hope to be able to carry out further research that is paediatric-specific.
What have you achieved since you completed the studentship at the GMRI?
I continue to be involved in the research at the GMRI and have published two papers on my work on venous malformation – a form of vascular birthmark, and a paper on trismus in head and neck cancer patients, in international medical journals. I am currently finalising another paper on venous malformation for publication in an international journal.
Click here to read our Newsletter story abour Frederica.