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Student story

Yinnon Dolev

20 July 2023

"I’m hoping to be part of the booming bio-tech industry..."


PhD in Biological Sciences

Yinnon travelled from Jerusalem, Israel to study his PhD under his supervisor at UC, with a goal to eventually start a career in the biotechnology industry.

“It was a dream of mine six years before the opportunity presented itself,” he says. “I enjoy the professional yet easy going nature of the staff and students here and the awesome nature of Te Waipounamu.”

His PhD research investigated jumping spiders, and their visual interpretation and processing of their environment. Yinnon received a UC Doctoral Scholarship to support his findings around these curious creatures.

“I try to look at the world through the eyes of jumping spiders by getting them to communicate to me what they see. Ultimately, I investigated the processes of visual perception, using both classic animal behaviour methodologies as well as specialised microscopes to analyse their eye movements.

“I love the fascination (and sometimes pure terror) in the eyes of people when I tell them what I do,” he says. “I was actually doing something that I truly enjoy and find fascinating. The privilege to investigate nature and animal behaviour in a professional manner is something to be proud of. Truthfully, it’s a dream come true for me.”

The significance of his PhD towards understanding animal sensory systems is a huge highlight for Yinnon.

“Other than the fact the spiders are awesome?! This is cutting edge research into some pretty high-end neurobiological and cognitive processes in an animal that can fit on the head of a pin!”

He highly encourages other postgraduate students to study their interests and be passionate about their end goals.

“Love what you do! Keep your eyes on the global picture so you don’t get bogged down in the details,” he says. “I’m hoping to be part of the booming bio-tech industry back home, using my abilities in both computer science and biology to facilitate start-up development and industry communication.”

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