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Members of the research team doing biodiversity surveys of oyster habitat and the surrounding areas in Pak Nai, Hong Kong. Photo credit: Mr Khan CHEUNG.

Global assessment by HKU Marine Scientists found that oyster reef restoration rapidly increases marine biodiversity, but increased restoration effort is needed to eliminate historical damage

Global assessments of historical oyster reef distribution have estimated that over 85% of oyster reefs have been lost to overfishing and coastal development. In recent decades, enormous effort has been put into developing and implementing different methods for restoring oyster reefs globally. However, the overall effectiveness of these efforts has remained uncertain because of a lack of assessment of how long it takes for restored oyster reefs to begin to support marine biodiversity and provide ecosystem services to the same level of undamaged reefs. Dr Bayden RUSSELL and Dr Ashley HEMRAJ from the Swire Institute of Marine Science (SWIMS), and the School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong (HKU), along with their international collaborators (see remark), utilised an assessment method (recovery debt) to examine the effectiveness global oyster reef restoration to date. They screened over 70 journal articles which compared restored oyster reefs to surviving natural oyster reefs in an attempt to benchmark what constitutes successful recovery of oyster reefs and identify the most successful methods of oyster reef restoration. The research has recently been published in Science Advances. Theoretical diagram of general recovery debt for ecosystems not requiring structural restoration (red dashed line) and recovery debt specific to restored oyster habitats (dark blue lines) where structural restoration is necessary. The yellow line indicates the expected rate of recovery, which slows but stays positive over time. Figure modified from the published paper. Their findings revealed that oyster reef restoration initiates a rapid increase in biodiversity and abundance of reef-associated species within two years; however, the recovery rate then decreases substantially, leaving a global shortfall in recovery of 35% below a pre-disturbed state.  Following this initial ‘boost’ in recovery, the shortfall in species diversity, ecosystem functions and services will likely be gradually overcome by the development of ecosystem complexity. Therefore, while these young, restored reefs rapidly enhance biodiversity, they will require long-term protection to mature into complex ecosystems and recoup historical losses of biodiversity and ecosystem services. ‘The rapid increase of oysters and fauna on restored oyster reefs is very promising and shows great return for the financial investment and effort put towards restoration. However, it is also clear that newly restored oyster reefs require time to develop into self-sustaining ecosystems, equivalent to remnant oyster reefs. By reducing disturbances to these restored reefs, in particular activities like harvesting or development which damage the reef, we can help them recover faster.’ said Dr Ashley Hemraj, the lead author of the study. Importantly, the research also demonstrated that some of the most simple and cheap restoration techniques – the use of limestone rock as the base for restoring reefs – can be as effective as more costly techniques. ‘The exciting thing about this research is that it consolidates the outcomes of global efforts in oyster reef restoration and provides some direction for maximising success,’ said the group leader Dr Bayden Russell. ‘We were pleasantly surprised by how rapidly biodiversity increases in the early years after restoration, including recreational and commercially fished species, which provides good motivation and justification for rapidly expanding restoration in regions of the world where restoration programmes are still in the early stages of development.’ Dr Bayden Russell added. With the recognition that restoration of coastal marine ecosystems is a key component of protecting biodiversity and maintaining the services they provide to humans, this research offers timely direction for achieving these goals with oyster reef restoration.   Dr Bayden Russell documenting the species diversity of a restored oyster reef in Hong Kong. Photo credit: Miko LUI, The Nature Conservancy HK.   Measuring the growth of oysters on restored reefs is key to understanding restoration success. Photo from Hong Kong. Photo credit: Dr D. Ashley Hemraj. About the journal paper: Oyster reef restoration fails to recoup global historic ecosystem losses despite substantial biodiversity gain. Science Advances 8, eabp8747.  The journal can be accessed from here.  Remark: Collaborators: Dr Boze HANCOCK: The Nature Conservancy; Dr Melanie BISHOP: Macquarie University; Dr Jay MINUTI: The City University of Hong Kong (Former Postdoctoral Researcher at HKU); Dr Philine zu ERMGASSEN: University of Edinburgh; and Dr Ruth THURSTAN: University of Exeter

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An image of Arctic ostracods produced by Scanning electron microscope (SEM)  Image credit: Dr He WANG.

Understanding polar species’ behaviour to reduce risk of extinction: HKU Scientists discovered the southward migration of Arctic Ocean species During the Last Glacial Period for the first time

In order to survive, a species must find the most favourable habitat to pass on its genes. Therefore, learning how species migrated with climate change is very important for protecting species from environmental threats. In light of this, a research team led by Dr He WANG and Dr Moriaki YASUHARA from the School of Biological Sciences (SBS) and the Swire Institute of Marine Science (SWIMS) of The University of Hong Kong (HKU) studied the impact of East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM) along with their collaborators (note), identified two southward migration events of polar species Arctic ostracods in the Last Glacial Period and determined the ages of these two events for the first time. The results would help better understand Asian monsoon dynamics and their impacts on the marine ecosystem and polar species, thereby reducing the risk of species extinction. The study has recently been published on Geophysical Research Letters. EAWM is a determining factor of wintertime weather and climate in East Asia, affecting crop and livestock productivity and socioeconomic activities over large areas of East Asian countries. The impacts of climatic conditions on marine ecosystems and the distribution of marine species are major concerns due to ongoing anthropogenic climate change; however, the impacts of EAWM variability on marine biota remain poorly known, which hinders the understanding of future climate change and its impact on polar species or cold water species. The Yellow Sea is a great location to study the evolution of the EAWM, as it is sensitive to climate change, and its environment is strongly influenced by the EAWM. It also has been regarded as an ideal location to track changes in cold-adapted marine species (polar species), as it is located at the southern end of the distribution of Arctic circumpolar species. Furthermore, the abundance of fossil records in the area provides direct evidence of past climate impacts. Therefore, the research team selected eight spots from the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan to reconstruct the temporal and spatial changes of Arctic ostracods in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, which helps to better understand the biogeographic distribution of Arctic ostracods and their responses to climate change. By using microfossil proxies in sediment cores from the northwestern Pacific Ocean to better understand the relationship between EAWM dynamics and marine biota, the research team identified two southward migration events of Arctic ostracods in the Last Glacial Period and determined the ages of these two events for the first time: 120 to 100 and 30 to 15 thousand years ago — intervals that are consistent with the periods of strengthened East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM) during the Last Glacial Period. Therefore, the team suggests that the stronger EAWM during these periods enhanced the formation of Yellow Sea Bottom Cold Water and/or lowered the winter temperatures of the Yellow Sea, allowing cold water species Arctic ostracods to inhabit more southern regions of the Yellow Sea. Dr He Wang, the lead author of the study and the former Postdoctoral Fellow at SBS explains: ‘In order to understand the above topics, one of the challenges is that we need to find a good proxy. Fortunately, we find many well-preserved ostracod specimens from a new core in the Yellow Sea, including both Arctic species and Subtropical and temperate species. Ostracods have fully calcified, bivalved carapaces, and thus have been the most common fossil arthropods, which provide an excellent fossil record for detailed paleoecological reconstructions.’ ‘Understanding polar species’ behaviour is important because they are sensitive to climatic warming and cooling. Numerous evidence shows that species respond to ongoing human-induced warming by changing their latitudinal distribution. So, polar species distributions are getting narrower to poleward with warming compared to the wider ice-age distribution we showed in this study. These narrower habitats may result in a higher extinction risk of polar species in the near future,’ said Dr Moriaki Yasuhara. The results help better understand Asian monsoon dynamics and their impact on marine ecosystems in the past, present, and future on this rapidly changing planet. Learning how these cold-adapted species (polar species) migrated with climate change is very important for protecting polar species from threats by the ongoing human-induced climate change. The research paper can be accessed from here.  Note: Other contributors of HKU and collaborators: Dr Penghui ZHANG from Hohai University; Dr Huai-Hsuan M. HUANG from National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution; Dr Yuanyuan HONG and Miss Skye Yunshu TIAN from HKU SBS and SWIMS;Professor Jian LIU, Professor Jianwen CHEN and Professor Jie LIANG from China Geological Survey; Professor Yong Il. Lee from Seoul National University.

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Dr Janet CHAN(on the left) of the School of Biological Sciences and Ms Stacey LI, a graduate of MSc Environmental Management.

Upcycling Project Conducted by Team of Environmental Management Programme Selected as ‘Excellent Oral Presentation’ in ISEE2022

Dr Janet CHAN of School of Biological Sciences and Coordinator of MSc Environmental Management Programme,  together with her former student Ms Stacey LI, won the Award for Excellent Presentation at the 2nd International Symposium on Electronic Waste and End-of-Life Vehicles(ISEE2022) in Seoul, South Korea.  The presentation was about their action research ‘OFF-LINES’, focusing on the recycling and upcycling of unwanted USB cables. Apart from compiling data on this form of e-waste, the project also strived to raise the awareness of stakeholders and provide respective solutions to the problems. A total of 190 participants coming around the globe joined this international conference.  Learn more about the 2nd ISEE2022.  

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Members of the research team doing biodiversity surveys of oyster habitat and the surrounding areas in Pak Nai, Hong Kong. Photo credit: Mr Khan CHEUNG.

Global assessment by HKU Marine Scientists found that oyster reef restoration rapidly increases marine biodiversity, but increased restoration effort is needed to eliminate historical damage

Global assessments of historical oyster reef distribution have estimated that over 85% of oyster reefs have been lost to overfishing and coastal development. In recent decades, enormous effort has been put into developing and implementing different methods for restoring oyster reefs globally. However, the overall effectiveness of these efforts has remained uncertain because of a lack of assessment of how long it takes for restored oyster reefs to begin to support marine biodiversity and provide ecosystem services to the same level of undamaged reefs. Dr Bayden RUSSELL and Dr Ashley HEMRAJ from the Swire Institute of Marine Science (SWIMS), and the School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong (HKU), along with their international collaborators (see remark), utilised an assessment method (recovery debt) to examine the effectiveness global oyster reef restoration to date. They screened over 70 journal articles which compared restored oyster reefs to surviving natural oyster reefs in an attempt to benchmark what constitutes successful recovery of oyster reefs and identify the most successful methods of oyster reef restoration. The research has recently been published in Science Advances. Theoretical diagram of general recovery debt for ecosystems not requiring structural restoration (red dashed line) and recovery debt specific to restored oyster habitats (dark blue lines) where structural restoration is necessary. The yellow line indicates the expected rate of recovery, which slows but stays positive over time. Figure modified from the published paper. Their findings revealed that oyster reef restoration initiates a rapid increase in biodiversity and abundance of reef-associated species within two years; however, the recovery rate then decreases substantially, leaving a global shortfall in recovery of 35% below a pre-disturbed state.  Following this initial ‘boost’ in recovery, the shortfall in species diversity, ecosystem functions and services will likely be gradually overcome by the development of ecosystem complexity. Therefore, while these young, restored reefs rapidly enhance biodiversity, they will require long-term protection to mature into complex ecosystems and recoup historical losses of biodiversity and ecosystem services. ‘The rapid increase of oysters and fauna on restored oyster reefs is very promising and shows great return for the financial investment and effort put towards restoration. However, it is also clear that newly restored oyster reefs require time to develop into self-sustaining ecosystems, equivalent to remnant oyster reefs. By reducing disturbances to these restored reefs, in particular activities like harvesting or development which damage the reef, we can help them recover faster.’ said Dr Ashley Hemraj, the lead author of the study. Importantly, the research also demonstrated that some of the most simple and cheap restoration techniques – the use of limestone rock as the base for restoring reefs – can be as effective as more costly techniques. ‘The exciting thing about this research is that it consolidates the outcomes of global efforts in oyster reef restoration and provides some direction for maximising success,’ said the group leader Dr Bayden Russell. ‘We were pleasantly surprised by how rapidly biodiversity increases in the early years after restoration, including recreational and commercially fished species, which provides good motivation and justification for rapidly expanding restoration in regions of the world where restoration programmes are still in the early stages of development.’ Dr Bayden Russell added. With the recognition that restoration of coastal marine ecosystems is a key component of protecting biodiversity and maintaining the services they provide to humans, this research offers timely direction for achieving these goals with oyster reef restoration.   Dr Bayden Russell documenting the species diversity of a restored oyster reef in Hong Kong. Photo credit: Miko LUI, The Nature Conservancy HK.   Measuring the growth of oysters on restored reefs is key to understanding restoration success. Photo from Hong Kong. Photo credit: Dr D. Ashley Hemraj. About the journal paper: Oyster reef restoration fails to recoup global historic ecosystem losses despite substantial biodiversity gain. Science Advances 8, eabp8747.  The journal can be accessed from here.  Remark: Collaborators: Dr Boze HANCOCK: The Nature Conservancy; Dr Melanie BISHOP: Macquarie University; Dr Jay MINUTI: The City University of Hong Kong (Former Postdoctoral Researcher at HKU); Dr Philine zu ERMGASSEN: University of Edinburgh; and Dr Ruth THURSTAN: University of Exeter

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An image of Arctic ostracods produced by Scanning electron microscope (SEM)  Image credit: Dr He WANG.

Understanding polar species’ behaviour to reduce risk of extinction: HKU Scientists discovered the southward migration of Arctic Ocean species During the Last Glacial Period for the first time

In order to survive, a species must find the most favourable habitat to pass on its genes. Therefore, learning how species migrated with climate change is very important for protecting species from environmental threats. In light of this, a research team led by Dr He WANG and Dr Moriaki YASUHARA from the School of Biological Sciences (SBS) and the Swire Institute of Marine Science (SWIMS) of The University of Hong Kong (HKU) studied the impact of East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM) along with their collaborators (note), identified two southward migration events of polar species Arctic ostracods in the Last Glacial Period and determined the ages of these two events for the first time. The results would help better understand Asian monsoon dynamics and their impacts on the marine ecosystem and polar species, thereby reducing the risk of species extinction. The study has recently been published on Geophysical Research Letters. EAWM is a determining factor of wintertime weather and climate in East Asia, affecting crop and livestock productivity and socioeconomic activities over large areas of East Asian countries. The impacts of climatic conditions on marine ecosystems and the distribution of marine species are major concerns due to ongoing anthropogenic climate change; however, the impacts of EAWM variability on marine biota remain poorly known, which hinders the understanding of future climate change and its impact on polar species or cold water species. The Yellow Sea is a great location to study the evolution of the EAWM, as it is sensitive to climate change, and its environment is strongly influenced by the EAWM. It also has been regarded as an ideal location to track changes in cold-adapted marine species (polar species), as it is located at the southern end of the distribution of Arctic circumpolar species. Furthermore, the abundance of fossil records in the area provides direct evidence of past climate impacts. Therefore, the research team selected eight spots from the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan to reconstruct the temporal and spatial changes of Arctic ostracods in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, which helps to better understand the biogeographic distribution of Arctic ostracods and their responses to climate change. By using microfossil proxies in sediment cores from the northwestern Pacific Ocean to better understand the relationship between EAWM dynamics and marine biota, the research team identified two southward migration events of Arctic ostracods in the Last Glacial Period and determined the ages of these two events for the first time: 120 to 100 and 30 to 15 thousand years ago — intervals that are consistent with the periods of strengthened East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM) during the Last Glacial Period. Therefore, the team suggests that the stronger EAWM during these periods enhanced the formation of Yellow Sea Bottom Cold Water and/or lowered the winter temperatures of the Yellow Sea, allowing cold water species Arctic ostracods to inhabit more southern regions of the Yellow Sea. Dr He Wang, the lead author of the study and the former Postdoctoral Fellow at SBS explains: ‘In order to understand the above topics, one of the challenges is that we need to find a good proxy. Fortunately, we find many well-preserved ostracod specimens from a new core in the Yellow Sea, including both Arctic species and Subtropical and temperate species. Ostracods have fully calcified, bivalved carapaces, and thus have been the most common fossil arthropods, which provide an excellent fossil record for detailed paleoecological reconstructions.’ ‘Understanding polar species’ behaviour is important because they are sensitive to climatic warming and cooling. Numerous evidence shows that species respond to ongoing human-induced warming by changing their latitudinal distribution. So, polar species distributions are getting narrower to poleward with warming compared to the wider ice-age distribution we showed in this study. These narrower habitats may result in a higher extinction risk of polar species in the near future,’ said Dr Moriaki Yasuhara. The results help better understand Asian monsoon dynamics and their impact on marine ecosystems in the past, present, and future on this rapidly changing planet. Learning how these cold-adapted species (polar species) migrated with climate change is very important for protecting polar species from threats by the ongoing human-induced climate change. The research paper can be accessed from here.  Note: Other contributors of HKU and collaborators: Dr Penghui ZHANG from Hohai University; Dr Huai-Hsuan M. HUANG from National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution; Dr Yuanyuan HONG and Miss Skye Yunshu TIAN from HKU SBS and SWIMS;Professor Jian LIU, Professor Jianwen CHEN and Professor Jie LIANG from China Geological Survey; Professor Yong Il. Lee from Seoul National University.

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Dr Janet CHAN(on the left) of the School of Biological Sciences and Ms Stacey LI, a graduate of MSc Environmental Management.

Upcycling Project Conducted by Team of Environmental Management Programme Selected as ‘Excellent Oral Presentation’ in ISEE2022

Dr Janet CHAN of School of Biological Sciences and Coordinator of MSc Environmental Management Programme,  together with her former student Ms Stacey LI, won the Award for Excellent Presentation at the 2nd International Symposium on Electronic Waste and End-of-Life Vehicles(ISEE2022) in Seoul, South Korea.  The presentation was about their action research ‘OFF-LINES’, focusing on the recycling and upcycling of unwanted USB cables. Apart from compiling data on this form of e-waste, the project also strived to raise the awareness of stakeholders and provide respective solutions to the problems. A total of 190 participants coming around the globe joined this international conference.  Learn more about the 2nd ISEE2022.  

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From the upper left: Professor Xiang ZHANG, Professor Guochun ZHAO, Professor Wang YAO, Professor Peng GONG, Professor Shuang ZHANG and Professor Xiaobo YIN.

Six Academics and Affiliated Scholars from HKU Science Named as 2022 Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers

The Faculty of Science is pleased to announce that six of our renowned scientists, including three academics and three affiliated scholars, have been named by Clarivate Analytics in its list of '2022 Highly Cited Researchers' as the most influential in the world, in which, most of them were named multiple times. Their works have been highly cited by fellow academics and are hence making a significant impact in ongoing research in their respective fields of study. Highly Cited Researchers are selected for their exceptional research performance, determined by production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in Web of Science. The Highly Cited Researchers in the Faculty are:    Department Academics Affiliated Academics Earth Sciences Professor Guochun ZHAO Professor Peng GONG Physics Professor Wang YAO Professor Xiang ZHANG Professor Shuang ZHANG Professor Xiaobo YIN   Learn more about our highly cited researchers:  Academics of Faculty of Science Professor Guochun ZHAO Chair Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science Professor Zhao's research focuses on Metamorphic Petrology, Precambrian Geology and Supercontinents. His research achievements included discoveries of two 1.95-1.85 billion years old continental collisional belts in North China, recognition of global-scale 2.0-1.8 Ga collisional events leading to the assembly of a supercontinent and a new reconstruction of East Asian continental blocks in supercontinent Pangea.   Professor Wang YAO Chair Professor, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science As a global research leader on condensed matter physics, quantum physics and optics, Professor Yao is currently focusing on two-dimensional materials and their heterostructures. He has played a decisive role in creating an important new research direction – valley optoelectronics in 2D materials, which aims to exploit valley, a quantum degree of freedom of electron, in future optoelectronic devices.   Professor Shuang ZHANG Associate Dean(China & Global), Faculty of Science Chair Professor, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science Chair Professor, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Professor Zhang’s research focuses on metamaterials and nanophotonics, specifically, on how to design artificial photonic structures to manipulate the propagation of light in a way that goes beyond what can be done with traditional optics.   Affiliated Academics Professor Xiang ZHANG President and Vice-Chancellor, HKU Chair Professor in both Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Science Professor Zhang’s research focuses on materials physics, metamaterials and nano-photonics.   Professor Peng GONG Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Development), HKU Chair Professor in both Faculty of Social Sciences and Faculty of Science Professor Gong's major research interests include urbanisation and health, mapping and monitoring of global environmental change, and modelling of environmentally related infectious diseases.    Professor Xiaobo YIN Associate Vice-President, HKU Professor in both Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Science Professor Yin’s research focuses on both fundamental and applied research on a broad range of topics, ranging from nano-optics and optical metamaterials, acoustics and photoacoustics, imaging and spectroscopies, materials and manufacturing technology for energy and sustainability.   For the full list of 2022 Highly Cited Researchers and executive summary, please refer to Clarivate's press release.       

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Professor Qiang ZHOU, Dean of Science

New Dean on Board – Steering the Faculty in Times of Change

‘Our professors, research and administrative staff, and students are the real heroes of the Faculty of Science. I am honoured and thrilled to help them reach their maximum potential in order to achieve dual excellence in research and education, placing the Faculty at the forefront of scientific advancement throughout Asia and the world.’   The modern world is evolving at an unparalleled rate, and so must the scientific community. In the face of today’s unprecedented challenges, we need leaders who can inspire innovative solutions, impact society, and launch the Faculty into the future. We are pleased to announce Professor Qiang ZHOU as the new Dean of Science and Chair Professor of the School of Biological Sciences. Professor Zhou has just been on board this November.    Before joining HKU Science, Professor Zhou was a Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1992. Between 1993 and 1996, he conducted postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Phillip Sharp at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He started his academic career at UC Berkeley in 1997, where he rose through the academic ranks to full professorship in 2007.      As a world-renowned scholar, Professor Zhou has a keen research interest revolving around investigating viral-host interactions at the molecular level. His research discoveries, published in top journals and regarded by peers as major breakthroughs with significant and long-lasting impact, have led to the identification and characterization of a multitude of human proteins that control human host and HIV gene expression.   Professor Zhou is also a well-recognised educator. Among the PhD students and the postdocs he has mentored, many now hold independent academic positions in universities worldwide (including UC Berkeley, Harvard Medical School, etc.), or leadership positions in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry.   Professor Zhou has active and extensive international networks both in academia and industry. He had been a Charter Member of the NIH AIDS Molecular and Cellular Biology (AMCB) Study Section and served as an organiser of international symposiums held in the US, Europe, and Asia.  He has been serving on the editorial board of Cell & Bioscience since 2010 and was a scientific consultant to Novartis and Fochon Pharmaceuticals.  He directed the Tang Distinguished Scholarship Program, bringing in many highly qualified scholars to UC Berkeley over the years.    While welcoming our new Dean, we would also like to extend our gratitude to Professor Vivian Wing Wah YAM for her committed stewardship of the Faculty as the Interim Dean during the transition period.

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Jason WONG, fourth-year student at HKU School of Biological Sciences, majoring in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. He is also a first-year student in Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) programme  at the University of Melbourne, Australia

A Seamless Transition From Science to Veterinary Profession

Unlike his friends in the cohort who were determined to become veterinarians since childhood, Jason’s enthusiasm gradually developed during his teenage and undergraduate years. His first experience of having animal companions could be traced back to his late high school period when he had this precious opportunity of fostering and training two Labrador puppies until they were ready for official guide dog training. The exposure to vet clinic visits, training sessions and the behind-the-scenes of a working animal sparked his interest in the field of Veterinary Medicine. In 2019, Jason enrolled in HKU School of Biological Sciences to study Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (MBB). ‘The Main reason I selected MBB was because I was genuinely interested in biology since High school, and the fact that the degree gives me the freedom to choose between different disciplines of science really appealed to me. I was also aware that there is an articulation pathway with this degree to Veterinary Medicine, which further encouraged me to join this program.’ Jason said. This Major offers specialised training in state-of-the-art molecular and cell biology, and in the translation of basic knowledge into modern industrial and medical applications, and he was given research opportunities to work in the animal lab, where stationed veterinarians were responsible for ensuring that animal welfare and practices were up to standard for good science to be conducted. It made him aware of the broad range of roles that a veterinary surgeon could take and made this career path more appealing. To further explore his interest in the field, he proactively joined various vet clinics as a volunteer and was fascinated by the fast-paced, challenging work style involving synergistic team collaboration and impeccable client communication. Setting on the path to becoming a veterinarian Setting on the path to becoming a veterinarian All these experiences added to his growing desire to become a veterinarian. He successfully enrolled in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) programme at UoMelb after completing six semesters at HKU and has just started his first year of study in UoMelb since February 2022. With the help of his academic advisor Dr Chi Bun CHAN of HKU School of Biological Sciences and the Faculty, the transition from HKU to UoMelb was achievable. He also thanked the experience working with animal models during his undergraduate period at the animal lab, ‘It was when the concept of biosecurity and animal husbandry were first introduced to me. Both are continually being expanded on and refined in my first year of vet school and will undoubtedly remain as a central part of my veterinary career.'   Seamlessly Articulating a Pathway to His Dream Moving to a new city could be daunting. But with the help of the amiable people in Melbourne, this transition has been almost seamless for him. He admired the Melburnians’ collaborative spirit, ‘In vet school especially, everyone would share materials, solve each other’s problems and push each other into achieving our goals. There is also a profound awareness of mental well-being in Melbourne. Maintaining a good work-life balance is highly emphasised here.’ One piece of advice he would offer to anyone considering a path to veterinary is that it is a challenging and workload-heavy field that requires extra effort, decisiveness and ability to withstand pressure, ‘Finding a sustainable work-life balance and having hobbies that can give you a break from studying is essential!’     Jason WONG .Fourth-year student at HKU School of Biological Sciences, majoring in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology .First-year student in Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) programme at the University of Melbourne, Australia   Click here to learn more about this programme.  

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