More than 460 High school students join reNEW UniStem Day to embark on a journey of scientific discovery

High school students across reNEW’s nodes in Denmark, the Netherlands and Victoria, Australia, joined reNEW’s UniStem Day 2024 events, each designed to provide students an opportunity to learn, discovery and discuss the power and potential of stem cell research, to transform medicine.

Running since 2009, the annual event aims to integrate, coordinate, and promote access of information to high school students, relating to the study of stem cells and their potential application.

This is the second year that reNEW successfully participates in the UniStem Day, joining over 95 other universities and research institutions across the globe.

The UniStem Day is definitely an event that has come to stay with us as long as we can attract the interest of the students,” said reNEWS’s CEO Melissa H. Little.

At the heart of reNEW Melbourne’s UniStem Day 2024 was its commitment to providing hands-on experiences. 160 high school students from across Victoria, Australia, journeyed to the Gene Technology Access Centre in Parkville, to learn about how stem cells are used to understand development and diseases of the blood and immune systems.

Students met with young reNEW Melbourne researchers, who are based at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, to learn more about the different careers in science and the way we use stem cells in our research. The students then had a go at loading a gel electrophoresis, counting cells under a microscope and matching blood types. The students also tried their hand at science communication through art and considered the questions people should be asked before donating cells to medical research.

“I learnt the function of stem cells and how they can be manipulated to assist with medicine” said one student. “I’ve found out I really like stem cell science,” said another.

250 high school students attended reNEW Copenhagen’s UniStem Day at Panum, University of Copenhagen.

The students explored more about what stem cells actually are and heard about the research being done on the gut, lungs, and brain by Professor Kim Jensen, Associate Professor Jakub Sedzinski, and Associate Professor Agnete Kirkeby from reNEW Copenhagen.

The ethical nature of our research was emphasized by Professor Klaus Høyer, who is part of PREPARE Copenhagen. He discussed challenges such as managing hope, and how stem cell information reaches the public. To identify the need for socially robust stem cell treatments is the main focus of PREPARE’s research.

But how do you become a researcher? Many students are curious about that. Oscar Axelsen, research assistant in the Aragona Group, explained how he got involved in stem cell research, and why this is so fascinating.

reNEW Leiden welcomed around 50 high school students from all over the Netherlands with a strong interest in medicine and biomedical sciences in the beautiful Stadsgehoorzaal in the old city center of. They heard a variety of perspectives which helped them to answer the question: is stem cell research my future?

We started with a broad introduction to the field by reNEW PI Professor Christine Mummery, followed by the perspective of a student-researcher and type-1 diabetes patient. She explained the type-1 diabetes research she is working on and provided insight into the impact of being chronically ill, and thus the importance of this research.

After the break, a PhD student from the ethics department showed us her side of the type-1 diabetes research. She explained how we need to consider the environment outside the laboratory when developing a new therapy. At last, two PhD students and a technician provided a sneak peek of what it really means to work in a laboratory and what different paths you can take to get there.

The UniStem Day has over the years turned into the largest educational outreach initiative on stem cells and regenerative medicine in Europe, with some non-European countries also taking part in this promotion effort. This was the second time that the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine, reNEW took part in this engagement event.

reNEW releases its Annual Report 2023

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine, reNEW, has released its annual report, highlighting the stellar work accomplished throughout 2023.

Sean Humphrey receives two prestigious awards for brain cancer research

Dr Sean Humphrey, who manages the reNEW Functional Phosphoproteomics Platform, has been awarded the Peter Doherty Investigator Award, the highest ranked recipient of a research grant in the Emerging Leadership category, by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NMHRC).

New knowledge on reproductive biology

Research in the lab of Professor Susana Chuva de Sousa Lopes (reNEW Leiden) has resulted in three publications. Two research papers, published in Developmental Cell and Cell Reports Medicine, present new knowledge on human reproduction and developmental biology of the reproductive organs.