Dr Seeseei Molimau-Samasoni

Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa 
Bachelor of Biotechnology (Honours) 2008; Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology) 2007 
Australia Awards recipient 2005 and 2008

Dr Seeseei Molimau-Samasoni graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2008 as an expert in biotechnology. Returning to Samoa, she played a crucial role in the establishing of an accredited laboratory, that specialises in food safety testing. After this achievement, Dr Molimau-Samasoni shifted her area of research into direct discovery. She is now investigating the possible pharmaceutical applications of various plants that are native, and unique, to Samoa. Locals have long known the medicinal power that these plants can hold and there is a long history of traditional healers using them in their work. Dr Molimau-Samasoni is connecting with her local community by working closely with these healers to document their processes, but it can be difficult. There is not a lot of trust for researchers because they are seen as disputing the work of the healers, but Dr Molimau-Samasoni is looking to complement their traditions. Dr Molimau-Samasoni’s research is the first of its kind being done in Samoa and, if fruitful, her work could mean a lot of money coming into the Samoan economy through the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

For international students considering studying at the University of Newcastle, Dr Molimau-Samasoni says ‘go for it! For someone who is moving away from home for the first time, which is the case for most Samoan students, it’s a good healthy environment to start off with. It isn’t too busy, and you won’t be overwhelmed with how different things would be.’ Coming from Samoa, learning at the green campuses of the University of Newcastle was an easy transition to make for Dr Molimau-Samasoni. The campuses are surrounded by nature and the beach is much more accessible than in Sydney.

The most inspiring thing for Dr Molimau-Samasoni was the interaction between the students and the lecturers in a laidback, but driven environment. Her own lecturers played a big role in her developing as a scientist.

Dr Molimau-Samasoni gives her time as a Global Alumni Ambassador in the hope that more students are given a chance like she was. By giving back and promoting the University of Newcastle in Samoa, she ensures that more and more Samoans hear about opportunities that are open to them.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.