"Once I read about the neuroscience degree, there was really no going back," says Amanda Wiggins. "It was love!"
"Neuroscience was simply the most interesting of all the science degrees, because it’s about how the brain works. The brain is what drives our thoughts, memory, behaviour, movement, and how we perceive the world. What could be more interesting than that?"
Fortunately for Amanda, Otago's Neuroscience programme didn’t let her down.
"I absolutely loved it," she says. "Going to university is a huge time of learning, both socially and academically. Studying neuroscience at Otago was fantastic in both of those realms."
"The course work was extremely stimulating. It was a good mix of the different areas—physiology, psychology, anatomy, and pharmacology—all focusing on the brain. The teaching staff were amazing, and some of them really helped shape me at that stage of my life."
After completing her BSc(Hons) at Otago, Amanda gained a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Melbourne before taking up a post-doctoral position at the University of San Francisco. She has since returned to New Zealand, where she now works as Science Commercialisation Manager at Creative HQ, Wellington's business incubator.
"I want to keep doing what I’m doing, which is about turning interesting research into useful products for consumers. Conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's are going to become more prevalent as the population ages, so there will be ever increasing need for products to help with neurological conditions. I would love to bring a product to market to treat a neurological condition. I'm still fascinated by the brain and neuroscience."