Summer Students Bolster our Efforts

Dr Sam Siljee, Georgia Hoggarth, Freya Weth and Anya Weth.

This summer we will have two university students join our team as part of our summer student programme.

Georgia Hoggarth will get to do some innovative research supporting our efforts testing the use of repurposed drugs in possible treatments for glioblastoma, and Anya Weth will be supporting our work on a genetic mutation study involving lung cancer.

We wish to thank Bloomsbury Associates, who are contributing $12,000 to the summer student scheme.

The scheme has been running for many years and has involved more than 30 students to date, including our current PhD student Dr Sam Siljee. Now a trained medical doctor, Sam describes his time in 2014 as a summer student at Gillies McIndoe as a great experience.

“I enjoyed sitting down with Swee over lunch and discussing the philosophy of what makes good science,” he said.

Sam is currently enrolled with Victoria University of Wellington and working on a lung cancer project in collaboration with Associate Professor Peter Pfeffer and Dr Lifeng Peng at the University’s School of Biological Sciences and Dr Sean Galvin at the Cardiothoracic Surgery Unit at Wellington Regional Hospital. Lung cancer is New Zealand’s leading cause of cancer death.

He’s studying genetic mutations in lung cancer to better understand the disease process. Sam is developing a lung organoid system, in which stem cells from patients’ lung tissues are isolated and grown in special culture media, forming human ‘mini lungs’ on the petri dish. He uses special techniques to uncover protein changes in cells in response to genetic or environmental alterations.