Curing cancer, clearing the air and changing the world: two senior chemistry lecturers move to Waikato

19 June 2023

Images of Dr Joel Rindelaub and Dr Benjamin Dickson from the University of Waikato
Dr Joel Rindelaub and Dr Benjamin Dickson from the University of Waikato

The University of Waikato has appointed two new senior chemistry lecturers to Te Aka Mātuatua - School of Science. Dr Joel Rindelaub and Dr Benjamin Dickson will join Waikato from the University of Auckland, where they were research fellows.

Dean of Te Aka Mātuatua - School of Science, Professor Margaret Barbour, says the appointments are part of the University's commitment to providing best-in-class science and research.

"Joel and Ben are both accomplished researchers, and we look forward to witnessing the talents they bring to research-informed teaching, mentorship of graduate students, and impactful research pursuits. We anticipate that they will both bring valuable contributions to the University, particularly showing our tauira (students) how exciting chemistry can be."

Dr Benjamin Dickson has a BSc(Hons) in Medicinal Chemistry and a PhD in Organic Chemistry. Dr Dickson has spent nearly a decade at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre. His most recent research explores the synthesis of novel drugs and prodrugs that interact specifically with the tumour microenvironment. He is also an Affiliate Investigator at the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery.

Dr Joel Rindelaub is originally from Minnesota, US, and holds a PhD in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Arts. His expertise lies in analytical chemistry, atmospheric and environmental chemistry, forensic science, and medical device and pharmaceutical testing. Dr Rindelaub is passionate about improving air quality and the environment. He recently led a study that revealed high levels of airborne microplastics in New Zealand's largest city.

Dr Dickson says the hybrid teaching and research role, plus the opportunity to contribute to a modern chemistry programme attracted him to the University.

"I'm particularly looking forward to teaching, supervising and mentoring students while also undertaking research."

"I'm also keen to get back to the basics of chemistry. I have focused on the 'destination' (new cancer drugs) for several years. This role will allow me to enjoy interrogating the 'view' along the way,” he says.

Dr Rindelaub says the stellar reputation of Te Aka Mātuatua - School of Science and the chance to work closely with students was a drawcard.

"I genuinely believe that today's students could save the world if they really wanted to. I hope to play a part in inspiring students to dream big for a better tomorrow,” he says.

He adds that science’s wide scope to make a difference for people and the planet makes it a particularly rewarding area.

Dr Rindelaub and Dr Dickson will commence their time at the University of Waikato in June 2023.

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