"Global Aspiring Medic Conference" took place at the campus of HKU on 16 July and it has attracted 240 students aged 15-17. With keynote speakers including top researchers and heads of departments from the University of Oxford; joining forces with professors from the HKU in the field of radiology and dentistry, the day was remarked as 'inspiring, informative and unforgettable' by our participants. The conference generated insights which help students to plan for their future studies and career.
We are proud to invite top researchers and heads of departments from the University of Oxford in the fields of RNA Biology, Psychology, Anaesthetics and Plant Sciences, to share with us their experience in initiating and leading cutting edge and interdisciplinary research projects across a wide array of medical sciences. GAMC’s Clinic Booth Workshops provided a mind-stimulating and interactive platform for students to gain insights into the practical elements of the medical industry, including Radiology and Dentistry, delivered by HKU professors. There was also a workshop on medical school admission requirements, with a particular emphasis on interview mentality and school life sharing by current HKU medical students, participants found extremely helpful for their preparation on university application.
THE GLOBAL ASPIRING MEDIC CONFERENCE
PROFESSOR ANDRE FURGER
B.Sc. Ed., M.Sc., PhD
Associate Professor, Chromosomal and RNA Biology, University of Oxford
Dr Andre Furger is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford and Tutor and Fellow in Biochemistry at Pembroke College, Oxford. Dr Furger studied Molecular Biology in Bern, Switzerland and in 1998 moved to Oxford to work as a postdoctoral researcher in the Sir William Dunn school of Pathology. In 2003 Dr Furger was appointed as a University Lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry and became a Tutorial Fellow at Pembroke College. He lectures undergraduate Biochemistry and Medical students in RNA Biology and Medical Genetics and in 2012 he received a teaching excellence award from the University of Oxford.
Dr Furger heads a research group at the Department of Biochemistry. His main research interests are focused on the regulation of eukaryotic gene expression in response to cellular stress and in the context of disease.
PROFESSOR HANNAH SMITHSON
BA (Hons) PhD
Fellow and Tutor in Psychology, Associate Professor of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford
Professor Hannah Smithson is a Tutorial Fellow at Pembroke College and Associate Professor in Experimental Psychology, where she heads the Perception Lab. Her research is aimed towards understanding human visual processing. In 2013 she co-founded the OxVis research network which provides a forum in Oxford for the sharing of ideas, skills and approaches in vision science, drawing 100+ members from a range of academic disciplines including ophthalmology, physiology, neuroscience, psychology, zoology, computer science and engineering. Prior to her appointment in Oxford, Prof. Smithson was a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Durham University. Her first degree was in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, followed by a PhD in Vision. She undertook post-doctoral work in Chicago, New York and London. She is an editor for the journal Perception and on the Directors’ Board of the International Colour Vision Society.
In 2011 she was awarded the Marr Medal for ‘extensive work on colour vision - from photoreceptors to colour constancy’. Prof. Smithson’s current research portfolio combines fundamental and translational research, building on her strong track-record in colour vision psychophysics. Placing psychophysical experiments on the neural mechanisms of perception at the core of her activity, she maintains active links with three cognate research areas: clinical visual neuroscience, instrumentation and material perception.
PROFESSOR IRENE TRACEY
MA (Oxon), D.Phil., FRCA, FMedSci
Nuffield Chair in Anaesthetic Science & Head, Nuffield Division Anaesthetics, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences,
University of Oxford
Professor Irene Tracey holds the Nuffield Chair of Anaesthetic Science, is Head of the Nuffield Division of Anaesthetics and is Associate Head of the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford. Irene did her undergraduate and graduate studies at Oxford and held a postdoctoral position at Harvard Medical School. Her multidisciplinary research team has contributed to a better understanding of pain perception and pain relief within the human CNS using neuroimaging techniques. Additionally, they are investigating the neural bases of altered states of consciousness during anaesthesia. In 1998, Irene helped also to co-found the now recognized world-leading Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain and she was its Director from 2005 until 2015. She will become Head of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at Oxford in September 2016.
Irene has served on many national and international committees, (e.g. International Association for the Study of Pain, MRC’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Board, etc). In 2008, she was awarded the triennial Patrick Wall Medal from the Royal College of Anaesthetists and in 2009 was made an FRCA for her contributions to the discipline. In 2015 she was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
PROFESSOR MARK FRICKER
Associate Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford
Mark Fricker is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at Oxford with an interest in signalling and transport in complex systems, particularly quantitative imaging of nutrient movement, Ca2+, pH and redox dynamics. His experimental investigations cover a range of scales including confocal imaging on a micron scale, radiolabel scintillation imaging at an intermediate scale, and network analysis and predictive mathematical modelling at a macro-scale. The network studies have been the subject of several BBC documentaries (Afterlife – the science of decay (2012) and Nature’s weirdest events (2015), whilst the work with Toshiyuki Nakagaki in Hokkaido University showing that slime molds can form networks with comparable efficiency, fault tolerance, and cost to the Tokyo rail system, earned them a Science paper and an IgNobel prize in 2010.
In 2017, he takes up a Visiting Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Durham to apply this approach to a range of biological networks at different organisational scales. He teaches cell biology and received a teaching award in 2006. In addition to teaching and research, Prof. Fricker was the Academic Director at Pembroke College, Oxford 2008-2015, a post that includes Tutor for Admissions, Senior Tutor, Tutor for Graduates and Dean of Visiting Students.
DR MING YEN NG
Department of Diagnostic Radiology of the University of Hong Kong
Dr. Ng is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Honorary Consultant at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital and Honorary Associate Consultant at the HKU–Shenzhen Hospital, China. Dr. Ng’s focus is heart and lung imaging.
DR JUDY TSE
Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Hong Kong
Dr Judy Tse is a private dental practitioner and graduated from the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Hong Kong in 2014. She is currently in the process of acquiring her specialist qualification and was enrolled into the Master of Dental Surgery in Periodontology of the University of Hong Kong in 2015. She is also a member of Hong Kong Society of Periodontology and Implant Dentistry.
MS JENNIFER MA
University of Oxford | University of Hong Kong
BA, Hon MA, M(Ed)
Jennifer Ma graduated from Oxford University with First Class Honors in Economics and Management (B.A., Hon M.A.), and achieved her Masters of Education from the University of Hong Kong in 2011.
Jennifer is the co-Founder of ARCH Education, a premier education institute established and headquartered in Hong Kong. Jennifer is responsible for curriculum development and as the Head of University Counseling for UK and HK, Jennifer leads a team of 80+ counselors with subject expertise across 30+ disciplines and specialises in UKCAT and BMAT training.
Medicine has always been one of the most popular subjects amongst students in Asia. With 50+ applicants over the past few years achieving more than 130 offers in total, including 100% success with Cambridge applications in the past 2 years, Medicine is indeed one of ARCH team’s strongest areas. Jennifer has been invited to deliver large scale pre-university preparation talks and workshops at Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, Hong Kong Outstanding Student Association and the Hong Kong University Academy for the Talented.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER FORUMS
FORUM I: The Complexity of Eukaryotic Gene Expression Regulation
By Professor Andre Furger
An introduction into the basic principles of the regulation in gene expression in eukaryotic cells will be given. Dr Furger will use examples from his research to illustrate how next generation sequencing approaches have become an invaluable tool to study gene expression at a transcriptome wide scale. The students will be exposed to research data that illustrate how gene expression profiles can differ between healthy and diseased cells.
FORUM II: A Window of Opportunity for Visual Neuroscience: High-resolution in Vivo Imaging of the Human Retina
By Professor Hannah Smithson
Visualization of individual cells in the living human eye has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of vision, both in health and in disease. A pioneer researcher in the field, Professor Hamilton will share how by using their newly developed Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope (AOSLO), we can (i) track the structural and functional progression of retinal diseases at the cellular level; (ii) monitor fine control of eye-movements, with application as biomarkers for neurodegenerative conditions; and (iii) measure blood flow through the finest retinal capillaries in response to neural processing of visual stimuli at specific retinal locations.
FORUM III: Imaging Pain, Analgesia and Anaesthesia
By Professor Irene Tracey
The ability to experience pain is old and shared across species. Acute pain is the body’s alarm and warning system, and as such a good thing. Chronic pain is the system gone wrong and now one of the largest medical health problems worldwide. The brain is key to these experiences and relating specific neurophysiologic measures from advanced brain imaging to perceptual or non-perceptual changes in pain perception induced by peripheral or central sensitisation, psychological or pharmacological mechanisms has tremendous value.
Advanced neuroimaging methods can powerfully aid explanation of a subject’s multidimensional pain experience, analgesia and even what makes them vulnerable to developing chronic pain. Relatively far less work has been directed at understanding what changes in the brain occur during altered states of consciousness induced either endogenously (e.g. sleep) or exogenously (e.g. anaesthesia). However, that situation is changing rapidly.
Professor Tracey will bring fascinating insights and share her expertise on the basic neuroanatomy of pain processing in the human brain – concept of a flexibly accessible network. In particular, how different neuroimaging techniques provide insight into chronic and acute pain (and analgesia); and what tools are used to unravel how anaesthetics produce altered states of consciousness.
FORUM IV: Fungal Networks of Power and Influence
By Professor Mark Fricker
Fungi cause major crop devastation on a global scale, exacerbated by climate change with long-term knock-on consequences for food security. However, fungi also provide critical ecosystem services through extensive carbon and nutrient cycling in the soil. Despite the difference in global impact, these different fungi share a unique growth form as an interconnected filamentous network. We are investigating how such indeterminate systems can form adaptive networks with both high transport capacity and resilience, but at relatively low cost, and without any centralised control. We infer that sophisticated behaviour emerges from parallel implementation of many local decisions that collectively solve this dynamic, combinatorial optimization problem.
CLINIC BOOTH EXPERIENCE
Booth I - A Day in the Life of a Radiologist
By Dr Ming Yen Ng
Radiologists have to be knowledgeable about different imaging modalities as well as being able to interpret the imaging appearances. In this section, you will learn about chest pain imaging and the different modalities available. You will hear about the different factors a radiologist will take into consideration when advising other clinicians about imaging requests. Dr Ng will then provide you with oppurtunities to choose a test yourself and to try to spot abnormalities.
Booth II: Problem-based Learning of Dentistry
By Dr Judy Tse
The 45-minute workshop will be in the PBL format (Problem-based learning). A statement with brief description of a clinical case will be given, together with some clinical records, study models, radiographs and clinical photos. Students will be grouped and will discuss the situations of the given patient based on the information and materials provided. Throughout the process, students can gain insights into the ways a dentist make diagnosis and formulate treatment plan for patients. Some other cases will also be shown, students can therefore get a clearer perception of how dentistry can help people in improving their oral health and the quality of life.
Booth III: Navigating the Maze of Medic Admissions
By Jennifer Ma
Medicine is one of the most competitive subjects to gain entry to in the world. But beyond top grades, what else can students do to prepare ahead of applications to medical schools? Students will have the opportunity to learn from experienced university consultants about pathways for studying medicine and related subjects in Hong Kong and abroad. Students will gain an understanding of what qualities medical schools are really looking for, as well as discover ways in which they can enhance their chance to enter medical schools. Students representatives from the University of Hong Kong will share their personal experiences as applicants and now as medical students!