Award for Teaching Excellence 2016-17
Dr Gavin Porter
Faculty of Science
"Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.” – Josef Albers
Dr Porter received his BSc in Physiology from McGill University, and his PhD in Molecular Pharmacology from Emory University, studying protein-protein interactions of growth factor signaling important in cancer. He did his post-doctoral work in the Immunology Department of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. His research on antigen presentation in dendritic cells in the Journal of Immunology was highlighted by the Faculty of 1000.
Along with colleagues in the School of Biological Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine, Dr Porter developed two new Common Core courses: CCST9046 – The Science of the Mind-body-health Relationship, and CCST9052 – Coffee, Cigarettes, and Alcohol. His background in physiology, pharmacology, and neuroscience help to inform the breadth and depth of content in these courses. More recently, as part of a rare collaboration between the Faculties of Science, Social Sciences, and several community partners, he is teaching in the new multi-disciplinary Common Core course: CCGL9053 – Suicide: Risks, Research, and Realities.
Dr Porter has taught in a wide variety of situations: English as a second language to new immigrants and refugees, both in Hong Kong and Atlanta; immunology to MD and PhD level students; neuroscience to upper level undergraduates, and now is primarily engaged in the Common Core at HKU which includes many first and second year students. Past students can attest that understanding biological mechanisms, looking at experimental data, reading primary literature, brainstorming solutions to practical biological scenarios, and multiple scientific tie-ins to daily life events, are regular features of his classes at HKU.