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Student story

Lisa Hsu

20 July 2023

"UC has made me feel I am a part of a bigger whānau..."


Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry

Master of Science in Biochemistry

Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Soil and Environmental Research (CSER) and New Zealand – China Water Research Centre, Te Whare Wānaka o Aoraki | Lincoln University

CEO, Gigvvy Science

Why are you passionate about the sciences?

I am curious about everything around me, from how nature works to why nature works that way. Science is a beautiful subject, it is intellectually challenging, and it makes me feel alive!

I always feel excited when thinking about the future, and how we can solve bigger problems.

What brought you to UC to study Biochemistry?

The garden city Christchurch is always my second home, and UC not only offers an extensive range of science courses, but also a wide range of clubs and activities that I can join.

How did you enjoy your time at UC?

What I loved about studying is that UC is so culturally diverse. There are more than 100 nationalities at UC and it’s the perfect place to learn more about people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. UC allowed me to embrace a diverse community, meet new people, and explore how I am different from others in a respectful way.

UC has made me feel I am a part of a bigger whānau and they will always be there for me.

What was your inspiration behind creating Gigvvy Science?

After graduating from the University, I realised science knowledge is locked behind a huge paywall. Gigvvy Science is a platform for independent academics to publish their own open-access journal. Our mission is to create a world where science is open, transparent, and freely accessible to everyone.

We have published over 100 COVID-19 related research articles as a collaborative effect with Aerosol and Air Quality Research. Our goal is to disseminate scientific knowledge as fast as possible, but most importantly freely accessible to all.

You’re also a researcher yourself with CSER and the New Zealand – China Water Research Centre. What’s the most interesting part of the job?

I find science research incredibly interesting. I don’t consider “research” a job, in fact, it is my passion! 

As a research scientist, I am involved with several projects at the same time, and I am free to explore different methods to test my hypothesis. Scientific research provides fundamental information and knowledge of how nature works, and helps us solve difficult problems by making informed decisions.

Tell us about the kind of projects you get to work on.

My main research areas involve understanding soil and plant microbial interaction in agriculture ecosystems, especially in the phosphate and nitrogen cycle. My research contributes to the greater goal of increasing the efficiency of fertiliser utilisation in soil, and maintaining agronomic productivity for sustainable agriculture.

Do you have other big science challenges you want to tackle next?

The rapid expansion of the New Zealand dairy industry is putting us at high risk from exposing nitrate contamination into our drinking water. We are now at an urgent time for clean drinking water, swimmable rivers and lakes, and a sustainable environment for our future generations. My career goal is to eliminate nitrate from drinking water and at the same time develop an ecosystem approach for sustainable, healthy agro-ecosystems for New Zealand.

What advice do you have for our future scientists wanting to make a difference?

Failure is a beautiful thing, because you can only learn by failing. No matter what you do, whichever path you choose, don’t be afraid to fail, keep trying and keep innovating!

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