Jennifer Nickel

ICEHOUSE Ideas … Inspiring - Priority One

Jul 09, 2011

The ICEHOUSE Ideas conference was held at the University of Auckland Business School  today (8 July) to assist in the sharing of knowledge and ideas amongst those highly passionate about building business and raising New Zealand’s economic output through increased utilization of science and technology. Nearly 600 people were present with a further 20 or so SPARK members (including myself!) fortunate enough to be watching live-streaming at the venue, and countless people at home or work who caught some of this streaming via the ICEHOUSE facebook page.  The complex challenges New Zealand faces in regards to lifting our economy will require efforts on multiple fronts so the opening up of these talks to everyone is testament to the fact that this is a collaborative mission for New Zealanders, giving everyone the chance to be … Read More

This GM is like Lasagna - Priority One

Jun 08, 2011

Today I came across an odd headline:  GM cows produce human breast milk. Thankfully not all the news headlines on this topic are as basic and presumptuous – some say ‘human’ (i.e. emphasis on quotation marks) and ‘akin to human’ to show that they understand this so-called new wonder-liquid is not actually human breast milk but something unique.   The wow factor for me as a scientist is of course the achievement.  Someone had an idea and managed to get funding and approvals and so on (i.e. convinced others that this would be a worthwhile goal) and then spent many many hours working indoors and outdoors using methods believed feasible and managed to succeed.  Whenever the topic is ‘genetic modification’ my main interest is: which genes are added to what.  Just like in cooking (very comparable to the methods of … Read More

Listen to Paul, Peter and what’s his name! - Priority One

May 22, 2011

I got an unexpected boost this morning when I came across the news story on Sir Paul Callaghan’s call for innovation to lift the economy.  I have also heard the same endorsement from New Zealands Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman in most of his speeches.  We’ve given these men a good lot of recognition for their work and intelligence, so why aren’t we listening to them?  Perhaps I do not appreciate how difficult it is to put together a budget for 4-5 million people, but to completely ignore all signs that the world needs or wants to head towards low carbon technology and a reduction in pollution seems dissapointingly out of touch. But before I go on and on about that… here is yet another guy who agrees, which inspired me to share:  see the story $1b prize plan for NZ’s future He talks … Read More

Research to Reality – a personal share - Priority One

May 11, 2011

Cancer research is what I do.  It’s all pre-clinical, in the laboratory.  I deal with cells, reagents, chemotherapy drugs, radiation, and so on… almost daily.  Yet oddly enough, until 6 weeks ago, I had never actually met anyone who had cancer and knew that it was terminal.  The reason for my recent break from blogging was due to the fact that I was visiting my grandmother in Germany for the last time.  My parents and I immigrated to New Zealand 16 years ago and this was my third visit back. It was as great a holiday as it could be under the circumstances, and I was very glad to have had the chance to say goodbye.  Yet it was really enlightening:  I used to firmly believe that knowing the end is near would be best as it would give you the … Read More

The Power of Research - Priority One

Mar 25, 2011

A free online browser game was recently launched.  It’s called The Power of Research.  It was designed to bring people closer to science and allow them to experience (virtually) what it’s like to be a biomedical scientist.  The interface looks very simple, but the features are anything but… check out the trailer here.   To play, you need to nominate a username, password and email account… or alternatively you can login using a Facebook account (which means you can play with your friends).  You then get to select your avatars features (gender, hair and t-shirt colour) — but like all labs health and safety has made sure you keep your goggles and cliché white labcoat on!  Then you select your country and institute of research*, followed by your research area and final thesis topic.  … Read More