2023-06-26T16:11:50+08:002023-06-08|news, Science Talks|

As one of the activities to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the University of Macau (UM) Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), FHS teaching staff shared fun scientific mysteries with over 300 secondary school students via science talks in biomedicine, with the aim of enriching their studies and broadening their horizons in science. Associate Professor Kin Yip TAM and Research Assistant Professor Bei LI have recently delivered two spellbinding talks titled “Pharmaceutical Century – Ten Decades of Drug Discovery” and “Body Chemistry Balance” to the secondary students of Escola Xin Hua.

Prof. Kin Yip TAM pointed out that the medical advancement in drug development, which is the process of bringing a new drug molecule into clinical practice, throughout history has been pivotal in assisting the survival of vast populations of human. He mentioned that the path to a marketed drug involves a long and exhaustive journey through basic research, discovery of the medicine, preclinical development tests, increasingly complicated clinical trials with humans, and regulatory approval by the relevant authorisations. According to him, the development history of important drugs has been made by standing on the shoulders of pioneers who revolutionized science. In addition, Prof. Tam talked about the relation of new technologies and drug development. Drug discovery and development rely on not only DNA sequencers but a wide variety of new tools for gathering, analyzing, and disseminating genetic and genomic information. He took an example of Dolly which was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell. Her birth opened up a lot of possibilities in biology and medicine. During the talk, some students made enquiries about the safety issues of the gene-editing. Prof. Tam stressed that the world is now opening the lid on the Pandora’s box of gene editing, navigating a limitless range of possible applications in living organisms. Yet, scientists are making great effort to overcome the difficulties and solve the risks associated with gene-editing research.

Dr. Bei LI introduced the students with the importance of hormones in their bodies, what they are and how they function. According to Dr. Li, hormones affect everything from blood sugar to blood pressure, growth, fertility, reproduction, metabolism, etc. She also pointed out that if hormone levels deviate too much from the norm, or if the body does not respond to hormones correctly, a person may have an endocrine disorder. By taking an example of obesity, Dr. Li mentioned that insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, which helps regulate carbohydrate and fat metabolism and reduce blood glucose after eating. In obesity, insulin signals in most patients are lost. The students expressed their concern on the control of hormones to avoid being affected by the imbalance chemistry in body. Dr. Li emphasised that a balanced diet and a healthy living style are often enough to manage almost anyone’s hormones, and taking a high-quality vitamins is a really good idea to balance hormones in the body.

The science talks were filled with warm atmosphere under strong discussion, during which the speakers shared scientific knowledge in an entertaining and informative manner, and they also invigorated the students to build their dreams in science, to be open-minded and put no boundaries on themselves in making important firsts in science to change the world.

Kin Yip TAM shares drug development with the students

Bei LI introduces the students with the importance of hormones

Speakers and students have extensive discussions during the talks