Singapore Science Festival 2017

Singapore Science Festival 2017

The Singapore Science Festival (SSF) is an annual national event celebrating the dynamism of science, engineering, technology and biomedicine. It is jointly organised by the Agency for Science, Technology & Research (A*STAR) and the Science Centre Singapore. This year’s theme is ‘The Future of Everybody’ and the Department of Biological Sciences, NUS had 5 of our faculty members who participated by hosting the following programmes. The response to the talks have been very encouraging and the department would be looking forward to engage more actively in next year’s event.

 


Talk 1: Redesigning Fishes: From Petri Dishes to Dinning Dishes by Prof Gong Zhiyuan and Dr Lam Siew Hong

Venue: Seminar Room 2, Block S2 Level 4, Science Drive 4, Singapore 117558

Date: Friday, 28 July 2017 |  4pm

Target audience: Public; Secondary School students and above

Brief Synopsis

Everyone knows that Fish is an important food source, but not many know that it is also an excellent animal model for biomedical research.  By genetic manipulation, we are able to use them as model for human diseases and as a test bed for treatments. Besides medical research, fish has also played a significant role in detecting pollutants in the aquatic environment as well as assessing quality of drinking water. It helps to keep our environment and drinking water safe. Fishes, from the humble and tiny zebrafish to the large salmon, have gone a full cycle from being a dish on the dinner table, to petri dishes and back to the dinner table. Join us to discover how scientists redesigned fishes in petri dishes, used them for biomedical research, and finally served them on the dinner table.

 


Talk 2: The Secret Fungi by Dr Amy Choong

Venue: DBS Seminar Room 1, Block S2 Level 4, Science Drive 4, Singapore 117558

Date: Saturday, 29 July 2017 |  10.30am

Brief Synopsis

Many people may be familiar with the edible fungi or their role as decomposers. However, there is much, much more to this group of organisms. Their secrets have remained hidden because of their ephemeral nature. We only see the mushrooms when they emerge some days after rain. Often, they are either underground or hidden within photosynthetic organisms or within animals This talk will introduce some local fungi and their biology and how fungi can be applied to solve many environmental and health problems.

 


Talk 3: GM food and security by Dr Norman Teo Zhi Wei

Venue: DBS Seminar Room 2, Block S2 Level 4, Science Drive 4, Singapore 117558

Date: Saturday, 29 July 2017 |  11.30am

Brief Synopsis

Within the last century, our human population has ballooned from 1.65 billion in the 1900s to 7.4 billion in 2015. With a projected population of 9.2 billion in 2040, global agriculture will have to increase current food production by at least 60 percent. To cope with the increasing demand, farmers will need to use new methods and technologies to ensure long term sustainability and produce more from less land. This talk will introduce the key challenges faced in agriculture and the current technology in modern plant breeders’ toolbox. We will also discuss on the food safety and security regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 


Talk 4: Fingerprint and Fingerprint dustings lecture by Dr Ng Ngan Kee

Venue: Singapore Science Centre (Seminar Room or Theatre).

Date: Saturday, 5 August 2017 |  10am - 11.30am

Target audience: Public; Secondary School students and above

Brief Synopsis

In any crime scene, the two most abundant evidences left by the perpetrator(s) and/or the victims are fingerprints and blood if the crime is violent. These two evidences are the most basic and essential start for any crime scene investigation, which will eventually lead to the solving of any crime. Fingerprints have been used as endorsement in contracts as early in the Sumerians and in the Tang Dynasty. It was only in the 1800s that scientists like Sir William J. Hershel, Dr. Henry Faulds, Sir Francis Galton and Sir Edward Henry discovered the uniqueness of the fingerprints and expounded on the use of fingerprints as an identification tool. In this lecture, the students will learn the principles involved in the detection, collection, preservation and analysis of fingerprints.

 


Talk 5: Mechanobiology - Defining Form and Function by Prof Michael Sheetz

Venue: Seminar Room 2, Block S2 Level 4, Science Drive 4, Singapore 117558

Date:  Saturday, 12 August 2017 |  10am

Target audience: Public; Secondary School students and above

Brief Synopsis

Mechanobiology is an exemplary interdisciplinary science, which integrates physics, mathematics, computing, engineering and biology. It takes into account the fact that every living system, at the microscopic or macroscopic level, is influenced by the chemical and physical nature of its environment. Research in mechanobiology has begun to provide evidence for the generation and existence of physical forces within living cells, that are not mere by-products, but drivers of key biological process like embryonic development. Defects in upkeep of such forces may lead to severe consequences like cancer metastasis or the body’s inability to heal wounds. Current research efforts in mechanobiology are broadly directed towards understanding cell, developmental and disease mechanics as well as the development of mechanics based diagnostics and therapeutics.