Melyssa is a PhD candidate looking at different ways of treating obesity and chronic disease, looking at how to best support people in their lifestyle change. She has an interest in novel aspects in nutrition and exercise, such as whole-foods (paleolithic) diets, intermittent fasting, and high intensity interval training.
Motivated by prevention
Melyssa trained as a doctor and found studying medicine frustrating at times. It became apparent to her that much suffering and disease is preventable, and she would like to find out ways people can live better and healthier lives.
Learning to be organised and self-motivated, and questioning all pre-existing knowledge have been two touchstones in her work.
Some of the most challenging elements in working in research have been staying organised; juggling work around family commitments, and walking the talk:
"I try to incorporate aspects of what I learn into my own lifestyle, although I like chocolate..."
Advice to aspiring researchers
Melyssa's advice to young researchers is:
"It’s a great career if you were always the person asking why, and questioning everything the teacher tells you!"
Melyssa grew up in Martinborough and loved horseriding and cooking. She credits her mum with sparking her interest in science.
She originally studied Exercise Science when she left school then came to Otago and did a BSc, DipGrad, MBChB and has just graduated with a MMSc.
Outside her work she is busy with her family with three children and tries to find time to exercise, socialise, read, go for a coffee or wine.