"I love Christchurch. I love that it's a city but that it's still not too hectic and busy. It's a relaxed city."
Rebekah Crake grew up in Christchurch and wanted to stay in her home town while she did postgraduate study.
She was thrilled to discover the University of Otago, Christchurch offered postgraduate biomedical courses. Rebekah completed a one-year Bachelor of Biomedical Science honours degree. She is now undertaking a PhD with the Mackenzie Cancer Research Group. And during her first year of postgraduate study Rebekah was able to live at home and save money before going flatting.
The focus of her PhD is the association between obesity and cancer. Supervised by Dr Margaret Currie, Dr Matthew Strother, Dr Elisabeth Phillips and Professor Bridget Robinson, Rebekah's project includes a clinical trial involving 40 breast cancer patients about to have chemotherapy. She will look at whether obese patients who have obesity-related inflammation have a different response to chemotherapy than those of normal weight.
"The PhD projects available at the University of Otago, Christchuch are amazing. We are really lucky with the Mackenzie Cancer Research Group because it is led by an oncologist (Professor Bridget Robinson) and we have access to patients because of the relationship with Christchurch Hospital."
Rebekah says when she did her undergraduate study she was 'a bit intimidated' by the lecturers. But at the University of Otago, Christchurch, the campus is small enough that she has gotten to know senior academics and feel comfortable to chat with them and even ask for their help if she needs it.
"The campus is quite small and you get to know most people by name. They will always stop and talk to you, or help you with your study."