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Janice Cheng representing NZ at HOPE Meeting with Nobel Laureates

17 January 2014

Malaghan Institute and Victoria University of Wellington PhD student Janice Cheng is one of five talented young Kiwi researchers chosen to represent New Zealand at the 6th HOPE Meeting in Tokyo, Japan in March.

Candidates were selected by the Royal Society of New Zealand, as part of the New Zealand-Japan Bilateral Programme between the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science who organise the HOPE meetings, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The word “HOPE” in the meeting title signifies the promise held for young scientists and optimism for a bright science and technology future in the Asia-Pacific and Africa regions.

Organisers of the meeting say its purpose is to provide an environment where excellent doctoral students and young researchers can learn from Nobel Laureates and other distinguished scientists.

The meeting also encourages the development of friendships and networks amongst the participants themselves, who live under the same roof for one week, and are invited to partake in various cultural lectures and activities.

Janice says that she has always been interested in cross-disciplinary research. “I believe that productive and innovative research can come out of an environment where there is a good grasp of how two or more fields interact and complement each other.”

Janice’s PhD research, under the supervision of Dr Bridget Stocker and Dr Mattie Timmer, focuses on the chemical synthesis of glycolipids, such as the cancer boosting adjuvant ?-galactosylceramide.  By designing and synthesising different forms of glycolipids with different functionalities, Janice is developing an extensive inventory of tools that can be used to influence immune responses.  The knowledge from which will ultimately benefit future cancer immunotherapy protocols.

“I am really looking forward to sharing my research with like-minded scientists who are passionate about interdisciplinary science,” says Janice. “I hope to learn from and be challenged by the Nobel Laureates and other scientists who are already working in that space.”

“I am also excited about engaging with scientists from different cultural backgrounds. I feel very honoured to have been chosen to represent New Zealand and intend to make the most of this incredible opportunity.”

Congratulations Janice, we look forward to hearing about your experience on your return.

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