Peter Mekhail is a second year PhD student at OIST who jokingly blames his parents for his love of research. “When I was a child,” he explains, “and I would complain that I didn’t want to study, my parents would convince me that I actually liked studying.” He tried working in the biotech industry before telling his parents that he would return to school to pursue a PhD. “They were too good at manipulation,” he laughs.
The potential impacts of research drive Peter in his daily science studies. “Things like living on the moon or curing cancer give me this urge: why not start the research right now?” he explains. Peter loves looking back at the process and wondering how scientists arrived at their conclusion. “Why would anyone take a giant magnet and wrap it around a person to see inside them?” he asks, incredulously. “I know that the MRI wasn’t invented in one step, but it’s baffling to see how it happened so quickly.” He points out that if he went back in time fifty years and told someone about the MRI, they would say, “That’s not what magnets do!”
Peter grew up in England, Egypt, and New Zealand before moving to OIST. He misses New Zealand the most, because it was just starting to feel like home. That said, he’s happy with the community that surrounds him at OIST. “It really doesn’t take long to adjust,” he says. “You live on a beach and you have the people and facilities that you can’t find anywhere else. How could you not like it?”