UCMe - Siddarth, Biochemistry, University of Canterbury, NZ
Siddarth Raajasekar

KNOWLEDGE

Siddarth Biochemistry

You’re originally from India, what brought you to UC?

I was attracted to UC because of its ranking in Biology and the Free Radical Biochemistry (FRB) laboratory. It’s one of just three labs in the world that does research into inflammation and cardiovascular diseases. I also love to travel and had heard great things about New Zealand!

How have you found the kiwi experience so far?

Very peaceful! I’m really enjoying how much less crowded and congested it is here.

What are your goals with your PhD?

My research focuses on how heart attacks and strokes are caused. I’m hoping to understand the diseases better so that we can avoid surgeries as much as possible. Eventually I’d like to become an academic and establish my own research lab. I enjoy teaching and sharing my knowledge with others.

Sounds like your mentoring and tutoring roles could be good practice for that!

They are. I mentor students who are new to uni, helping them to find their feet and answering any questions they might have. I also tutor Biology students and supervise two master students as well. It’s excellent experience and it feels good to help.

Has there been support on hand for you when you’ve needed it?

Yes, I’ve found everybody at UC very helpful. My supervisors are very supportive and the PhD students get together regularly to boost each other’s morale. I’ve also gotten some help with scientific writing at the Academic Skills Centre in the library.

"I mentor students who are new to uni, helping them to find their feet and answering any questions they might have, it’s excellent experience and it feels good to help.

How would you describe UC’s international community?

Wonderful. It’s so multicultural and everybody is very approachable. I’ve found it easy to make friends. If you know one person it spirals out from there.

Have you had a chance to see much beyond UC?

Yes, I’ve definitely left the lab to explore! My favourite spot in Ōtautahi Christchurch is the Air Force Museum. I’ve also been to Castle Hill and Arthur’s Pass. The Aotearoa New Zealand scenery is amazing, it’s like watching postcards come to life. There are lots of beautiful parks around Ōtautahi Christchurch too, which are perfect for relaxing in nature.

You’ve travelled a long way to do your PhD, how do you feel for having made that decision?

I have no regrets. In fact I’m thinking of continuing on at UC for my post doc. Who knows, perhaps I’ll become an academic here! I think it’s a simply wonderful place to be.