Nico Masila


Bitten by the Bug

I'm from: Kenya
Current Location: Sandy Bay, Tasmania
Position: PhD Candidate, Menzies Institute for Medical Research, UTAS
Field of research/work: Nutrition
YTS Years: 2023

Nico's Notable career moments

  • Child sponsorship by Worldvision and a philanthropic Australian named Angelo.

  • Completed Year 8 as a top student in my district with Science as my best subject.

  • Completed Year 12 as one of top students with Biology as my best subject.

  • Started Zoology degree after missing Medicine by a few points.

  • Graduated with zoology degree.

  • Started working for a pharmaceutical company as medical sales representative.

  • Started working for the Government of Kenya as a zoologist.

  • Decided to come to Australia for master’s degree. Competed in Australia Awards and lost.

  • Competed in Australia Awards scholarships again and won.

  • Started Environmental Health degree in Adelaide, South Australia.

  • Graduated with a Masters of Envrinonmental Health degree and went back to Kenya to work for two years.

  • Competitively selected for a PhD program. Started my PhD while still in Kenya.

  • Relocated to Hobart, Tasmania on 4th February.
    My PhD is ongoing. I am evaluating feasibility of ‘Healthy School Lunch’ provision in Tasmanian schools.

About Nico Masila

I grew up in Kenya, a lovely country in Africa world-known for safari parks with amazing wildlife such as huge elephants, the lion ‘King’ and tall giraffes. I loved science especially biology in school, and I wanted to be a doctor like my elder brother. Unfortunately, I missed out by just a few points to study Medicine, but I was admitted to university to study about animals (zoology).

After graduating, I worked as a zoologist and my work involved travelling to all the beautiful game reserves and parks, seeing the wildlife as I trapped tsetse flies (pronounced “tet-see”). Tsetse flies are biting insects, much larger than mosquitoes, they transmit diseases to animals and people when they feed on your blood. I especially enjoyed ‘playing doctor’ when I did microscopic surgery on the flies in our laboratory. This helped us identify disease-causing parasites in the flies and design how to control them.

Long before I started my science journey in highschool, I was a child sponsored by WorldVision and a wonderful Australian named Angelo. So, when I decided to go back to university, I was excited to do so in South Australia! After 10 years working in Zoology, I took a 20-hour flight to Adelaide where I was studying how the environment, we live in affects our health and well-being (environmental health). Graduating top of the class in 2020, I was accepted to come to Tasmania to study for my childhood course – Medical studies. What a dream come true!

My passion for children led me to join a team of top-notch scientists working on a Healthy School Lunch Project – ensuring every child in every school has a healthy school meal and does not study on an empty stomach like I used to.