PhD graduate hopes to boost sheep dairy commercialisation


Doctor of Philosophy graduate Jolin Morel.

Doctor of Philosophy graduate Jolin Morel was inspired by his family to complete his PhD research on sheep milk at Massey University. His grandfather George Wickham was an Associate Professor and sheep specialist at Massey and his father Professor Patrick Morel specialises in animal science at Massey’s School of Agriculture and Environment.

“I grew up around sheep, and in a family with sheep experts. The chance to work on a new project that could help New Zealand's sheep industry was very exciting, so I jumped at this opportunity. Massey is internationally renowned in the food sector and studying towards a PhD at Massey allowed me to learn from an extremely talented and innovative team of experts,” Dr Morel says.


Dr Jolin Morel (front centre) with his parents
Jenny Wickham and Patrick Morel, grandparents
Sue Wickham and George Wickham, and chief
supervisor Professor Richard Archer.

Sheep dairying is a fast-growing industry with recent research showing that sheep milk farms are more environmentally friendly than regular dairy farms. New Zealand’s fledgling sheep dairy industry needs a reliable method for aggregating multiple milkings from a single farm or multiples farms into lots large enough to process.

Dr Morel says freezing milk is common, but current methods leave a lot to be desired, requiring labour and impacting product quality. For his PhD project, Dr Morel developed a process to freeze sheep milk rapidly with support from staff and facilities at Massey’s School of Food and Advanced Technology.

Working on a PhD is often challenging, but the staff were always helpful. Massey has a huge range of technical expertise and equipment, which I was able to leverage to overcome challenges during my PhD.”

Dr Morel has been able to utilise the knowledge and skills from his PhD project in his current role at Callaghan Innovation.

“My research had a strong commercial focus, and this gave me a great background which I am applying to my current role as a Research Scientist at Callaghan Innovation, helping New Zealand food processors grow through innovative science and technology.

“If there is some advice I can give to students, it would be: pick an area of study that you’re passionate about, and never pass up an opportunity to learn something new.”

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