UC student wins scholarship to Cambridge

13 September 2016

UC Master's student Amy Hill has been awarded a prestigious Woolf Fisher Scholarship to fund her future doctorate studies at the University of Cambridge in England.

UC student wins scholarship to Cambridge

University of Canterbury Master's student Amy Hill with Sir Noel Robinson, Chairman of the Woolf Fisher Trust.

University of Canterbury Master’s student Amy Hill has been awarded a prestigious Woolf Fisher Scholarship to fund her future doctorate studies at the University of Cambridge in England.

With a UC Bachelor of Commerce completed in 2012, Amy is completing her Master of Science (MSc) degree at the University of Canterbury. Amy, aged 24, will study her PhD in Biochemistry at Cambridge.  Her goal is to generate meaningful research that will help others and make the world a better place. 

She has a special interest in antibiotic resistance and proposes to investigate either the production of carbapenem antibiotics by various species of bacteria or the biology of bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria.

“Antibiotic resistance is a particular interest of mine as I have been investigating the impacts of chemicals released in high amounts into the environment, in particular herbicides, on the antibiotic resistance of Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, and Staphylococcus aureus. The interactions between herbicides and antibiotics are important because the majority of antibiotics are used in agriculture, where herbicide exposure is also common,” Amy says.

Bacteriophages were first discovered 100 years ago and there is still much that is unknown about them. They have great potential to be utilised in medicine, agriculture and biotechnology, she says.

As a teenager, Amy attended Nelson College for Girls. After completing a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Canterbury, she worked for a chartered accountancy firm before deciding to return to UC to earn her MSc studying Cellular and Molecular Biology. She is currently involved in an investigation into the effect of commercial herbicides on incurring antibiotic resistance in microbes, supervised by UC genetics lecturer Professor Jack Heinemann, UC School of Biological Sciences.

She has held a number of volunteer roles including working in a hospice shop, mentoring other University of Canterbury students both inside and outside the lab, and serving as treasurer of Biosoc, the University’s biology society.

Woolf Fisher scholarships are awarded annually to graduates or those about to graduate, to fully fund their PhD studies at Cambridge.  It covers the students’ study and living costs at Cambridge and is estimated to have a value of $300,000 per student, making it one of the most generous scholarships available to New Zealand students.

For further information please contact:
Margaret Agnew, Senior External Relations Advisor, University of Canterbury
Phone: +64 3 369 3631 | Mobile: +64 275 030 168 | margaret.agnew@canterbury.ac.nz
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