Anna Matuszek is a researcher and Academic Staff Member in the Centre for Science and Primary Industries. She started her academic journey in Poland, doing the Master in Chemistry programme at Jagiellonian University in Krakow. During the fourth year of her studies, Anna was awarded an Erasmus Scholarship, which enabled her to study at Nottingham Trent University (UK). She completed a project reviewing the successful implementation of Virtual Screening methodologies for drug development, and was supervised by a lecturer who moved to New Zealand soon after.
Anna really enjoyed her time in England and took up an opportunity to continue her studies at Nottingham, working on the synthesis of novel molecular conductors based on a BEDT-TTF structure; a compound used in new generation TVs and computer screens (OLED technology). Anna was all set to continue her research, having been granted a chancellor’s PhD scholarship award, however she was also offered a PhD scholarship at the University of Auckland by her previous supervisor. The temptation of seeing the world ‘down under’ was too strong and won over after long deliberation.
Before moving to New Zealand, Anna spent several months researching catalytic properties of titanium dioxide (TiO2), specifically the role of the rutile form of TiO2 as an oxygen sensitiser during photochemical reactions. The data collected was used to write her thesis and complete her Master’s degree in Poland. Anna’s research initiated a five-year study, published last year in ACS Catalysis.
During her doctorate, Anna’s focus was the use of computational methods to define molecular descriptors, which are linked to the bioavailability of molecules and can be used during the drug design process (published in Molecular Informatics). She also performed Virtual Screening to find novel inhibitors for the autophagy process which could prove to be a useful tool to fight cancer and autoimmune diseases. Her work began an ongoing interdisciplinary project with initial findings published in Medicinal Chemistry Communication.
In addition to teaching four chemistry modules, Anna is currently Programme Coordinator for the Diploma in Technology (Science) and the newly introduced Diploma in Applied Science. She is also a subject matter expert working with Learning Works to develop chemistry modules for the new programme. Anna enjoys teaching and is also keen to continue her research work.