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Amy Watts

BBiomedSc(Hons)


What is your work here? What are you hoping to discover? Why will it be important?

My work is focusing on myeloid cells in colorectal cancers. I’m looking for cell populations that may differ between cancers and normal bowel tissue. Clusters may explain differences in prognosis/patient outcomes and help us understand features of the tumour microenvironment.

What attracted you to this area of research? What excites you about it?

I like immunology because it is one of the more ambiguous areas of science and is constantly evolving. The ability to manipulate the immune system in cancer is very interesting to me as they are both your own tissues.

What is the most difficult element of your work?

The lack of knowledge and the current conflicting opinions in this area of research make it difficult but it is also an appealing part of the research.

What’s it like working in a Lab? How did you come to be working here in this Lab?

Lab work is fun and immunology is great because you don’t have to wait days for bacterial cultures to grow. I came to the Kemp lab because I like the area of research that it is involved in.

What direction do you want your career to grow in?

A PhD would be nice, I’d like to still be working in labs in the future too.

What are the most important things you’ve had to learn to do well at your work?

Be prepared, read more scientific papers.

What advice would you give to someone in school who aspires to research?

Do it!! Follow your dreams kid, who is stopping you?

Where did you grow up? What things interested you about the world as a child?

I grew up in Invercargill on a lifestyle block but it was more of a mini petting zoo (which I loved). My parents both worked at the hospital in town so dinner table talk was always interesting….

What subjects did you enjoy most at school? The least?

I enjoyed Chemistry and Drama the most, Stats and English were my least favourite

Looking back, were there people in your family or community who influenced your field of study or sparked your interest?

My parents definitely influenced me, I liked the kind of things they did but being a doctor or a nurse just didn’t seem like something I wanted to do. Also my chemistry teacher told me to stop slacking off.

Where did you do your undergraduate study?

University of Otago

What do you enjoy outside your work here?

Exploring nature, whether it is camping or hiking or just taking a walk, getting outside and doing something is great for the soul.