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Caroline Beck
Dr Caroline Beck


"Why tadpoles turn into frogs" and such things, led English-born Caroline Beck into the field of developmental biology.

"I originally did a Medical Biochemistry degree, with the idea of doing applied research on something like cancer," she says. "but I got sidetracked in my last year by developmental biology."

Dr Beck's postdoctoral research, which she carried out at Bath, in the UK, looked at two closely linked aspects of developmental genetics: the process of regeneration - "how and why some animals are able to grow back missing body parts," as well as more traditional developmental biology - "how a fertilised egg develops into a fully functioning organism".

Though new to teaching (Dr Beck joined the department in April last year) so far, she's thoroughly enjoying the experience. "I try to throw in as many examples of different animals as possible, as well as things students can directly relate to - such as the human/medical side of this work. I also want to get students excited about the history behind various discoveries, so they can see how the subject has evolved."

A holiday to New Zealand (to visit a friend from Bath who was doing postdoctoral work at Otago) was the catalyst for Dr Beck and her family to move here. "We were impressed by the University, so when, a few years later, a job came up, I applied. So far, we're really pleased with the move," she says.

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