In order to improve scientific literacy among secondary school students, the University of Macau (UM) Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) on 15 July organised an activity titled ‘The Pursuit of Research’. During the activity, students from five secondary schools in Macao participated in biomedical experiments and guided tours of research laboratories.
During the activity, more than 40 students from five secondary schools, namely Chan Sui Ki Perpetual Help College, Xin Hua Middle School, Pui Ching Middle School, Kwong Tai Middle School, and Hou Kong Middle School, conducted total viable count (TVC) tests in the laboratory. Under the guidance of FHS staff, the students were able to complete the entire experiment independently while strictly following the safety rules which are designed to foster good laboratory practices.
Led by Associate Professor Terence Chuen Wai POON and Assistant Professor Wakam CHANG, the students visited the Animal Research Core and other core facilities in the faculty to learn how the faculty produces experimental animals that meet recognised standards and how it builds animal models using genetic modification and gene knockout methods. The students were also given a tour of the faculty’s state-of-the-art equipment, and learned how the equipment has contributed to the university’s research achievements in precision medicine for cancer.
Yanjie WANG, a Form 5 student of Hou Kong Middle School, says the activity provided a precious chance to experience the world-class facilities at UM and to learn more about the university’s research achievements. He especially enjoyed the experiments in which he was able to apply scientific theories and research skills. Weng I CHAO, a Form 4 student of Chan Sui Ki Perpetual Help College, says she looks forward to learning the experimental results which are due to come out two days after the activity. She also expressed her hope to participate in similar activities in the future, so as to enhance her research skills. Man Hei MIO, a Form 5 student of Pui Ching Middle School, learned that apart from mice, zebrafish, which are small, fast-growing and have transparent embryos, are also widely used in scientific studies. What amazed him most was the high cost of a small single-cell auto prep system, on account of its precision and accuracy. This made him realise that scientific research requires significant investment.
FHS believes that scientific research for sustainable development is a driving force for social progress, and it is particularly important to foster a passion for science among secondary school students. The faculty hopes to broaden the horizons of secondary school students through various science activities and to guide them to explore science with innovative thinking and diverse modes of thinking.