A Brazilian student who won The University of Western Australia’s ‘Pitch the Course of the Future’ competition has visited Perth as part of his prize, to explain his idea for a degree in biofabrication to a panel of UWA experts.
Matheus Saueressig’s two-minute video outlining his idea for a potential new course at UWA was chosen from hundreds of entries from around the world when he was just 17, earning him $10,000 to travel anywhere in the globe to research it.
The passionate self-confessed ‘science-nerd’, who believes growing food in the lab from cells will one day sustainably help feed the world, visited New York and the Netherlands before landing in Perth, where he also met UWA’s own Nobel Laureate, Professor Barry Marshall.
He described winning the competition as ‘life-changing’ and said he has been overwhelmed by what he has seen and the people he has met on his prize-winning adventure.
“Biofabrication is something that is happening right now and it was amazing to be able to explore where that technology might be headed with some of the biggest experts around.” he said.
“I have such a love of learning and to be able to meet with people such as those in the Netherlands and New York and from different areas within UWA has given me such inspiration to keep pushing on with my studies and to continue to keep learning so that I one day might be able to contribute something great to this world.”
In New York, the student from Porto Alegre, capital of the state of Rio Grande do Su, met with Isha Datar, CEO of New Harvest, a strategic grant-making organisation accelerating breakthroughs in cellular agriculture, and Matthew Markus, the CEO of biotech startup, Pembient.
He then travelled to the Netherlands, where as well as celebrating his 18th birthday, he spent time with research partners of Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University, renowned for his work in cellular agriculture.
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson said the ‘Pitch the Course of the Future’ competition panel had been overwhelmed by the ‘quality and creativity’ of the entries.
“The top 10 were incredible and suggested so many great potential courses of the future, so much so that we awarded honourable mentions to James Dingley for his course in Deep Space Resources and Holographic Integration by Ahmad Allaham,” Professor Johnson said.
“It’s imperative that UWA embrace the opportunities of the future – if we don’t help prepare for the future then we won’t help to form it.
“We want to think about the expertise and qualifications that out future graduates will need so that we continue to deliver the courses that keep us one step ahead.”
Matheus, who travelled from Brazil with fellow student Lucas Campos who is also shooting a documentary on the journey, said he was now more inspired than ever to work towards a career in medical research.
“Holding Professor Marshall’s Nobel prize medal, that was pretty cool, I’m a major fan and to meet someone who has achieved what he has done, it has given me ideas,” he said.
David Stacey (UWA Media and Public Relations Manager) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716