I visited Ho Yu College in Hong Kong last month. A good mentor Dr. William Mak has been running a great biotechnology education program for the primary and secondary school students, as well as the public there. See an old post about their outreach program in which they fit a whole research lab into custom-built bus! I shared the research program of our laboratory at Purdue University on using zebrafish to screen drugs for vision benefit.
I outlined our approach on using simple visual behaviour assays to identify positive effects of drugs. I specifically emphasized on the potential to analyze many of traditional Chinese medicines; the treasure that we have been consuming for generations. Some of these possibilities are outlined in our recent review paper:
The interaction with the students was fantastic. They were very imaginative and eager to ask questions all the time! Their enthusiasm was infectious and is the driving force of scientific progress. That also reminded me of the problem of our education in stifling creativity when students are “educated”, which I wrote in a separate post recently.
This is truly an enjoyable experience and I look forward to visiting them again soon!