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2020 Christmas party and art competition

Tuesday 22 December 2020 10:30am

2020 Xmas party Sally & Kurt_650

The annual Otago Biochemistry Department Christmas party, this year held in the bright new ground floor seminar room, gave the department a chance to stop and reflect on a memorable year.

Head of Department Professor Sally McCormick took us through the highlights and lowlights illustrated using various pieces of milinery, including a sunhat featuring a coronavirus virion. She made particular mention of those many wonderful members of staff who were crucial to help the department keep operating during lockdown, especially compliance officer Jackie Daniels and storeperson Nigel Alefosio.

Our postgraduate students were impressively productive this year considering they lost so much laboratory time, and Associate Professor Peter Mace awarded many of them for the papers they were able to publish this year.

These awards were followed up by a suitable biochemistry-geek quiz provided by the bow tie-adorned Associate Professor Sigurd Wilbanks.

Leading up to the party this year, members of the department were asked to contribute a piece of artwork in any medium that represents the year 2020. These were put on display so that party attendees were able to vote for their favourite while slurping on strawberries and ice cream.

Covid-19 was unsurprisingly a popular theme, and contributions included virions modeled using disposable laboratory equipment, Dr Ben Peter’s shoot-the-coronaviruses-with-a-pipette-gun video game and mock-ups of Zoom call grids.

Dr Golnoush Madani won the individual art competition with a mortarboard graduation hat decorated with objects signifying her PhD research which she completed this year (more about Golnoush’s journey to graduation, starting all the way in Iran, can be found here).

The Dearden lab took out the group art competition with a delicate northern hemisphere Christmas-style composition of a sleigh pulled by bees and driven by a Santa cricket. (Well, maybe it could be a southern-style Christmas scene with the snow that fell a week or so ago in Central Otago.) I’m not exactly sure what it says about the Dearden Lab’s activities this year!

Have a very happy holiday everyone, stay safe, and all the best for a brighter 2021!

Photo above: Sally and Professor Kurt Krause enjoy the festivities.

2020 Xmas party karakia_650
Ben Te Aika leads the department in a karakia before speeches. He stands in front of a permanently installed reproduction of an artwork by scientist and illustrator David Goodsell depicting the formation of SARS-CoV-2 virions.

2020 Xmas party Sally_650
Sally talking us through the year's events.

2020 Xmas party Sigurd_650
Sigurd leading the quiz.

2020 Xmas party Dearden lab art_650

 2020 Xmas party McCormick lab art_650
The Dearden lab's art competition entry (left) and the McCormick lab's entry (right).

2020 Xmas party Golnoush art_650
Golnoush's artwork.

2020 Xmas party Shar art_650
It looks like Shar Snoeck had some pretty entertaining zoom calls this year.

2020 Xmas party Ben art_650
Tyler McInnes tries out Ben Peter's coronavirus video game.