European activity day on Stem Cell Research once again met with great enthusiasm!
On March 6 research institutions all over North Rhine-Westphalia welcomed hundreds of high school students to the "UniStem Day". Activities were offered in Münster, Bochum, Witten, Essen, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Bonn, Rheinbach and Aachen.
This year „UniStem Day“ the Europe-wide activity day on stem cell research for schoolchildren was held for the twelfth time already. Various activities like lectures, debates or visits at laboratories shall rise the high school students’ interest in stem cell research, amplify the knowledge gained at school and offer insights into scientific research. While in the past UniStem Day was a purely European project, it grew to a global event in 2019 when universities and research centers in Australia, Colombia and Singapore participated for the first time. A total of 101 institutions have opened their doors this year. Alone one-tenth of the global activities were organized in North-Rhine-Westphalia!
Scientists from the Stem Cell Network NRW explained to the students what stem cells are used for and let them do the work themselves: in the laboratory they analyzed glowing proteins in induced pluripotent stem cells, examined mini organs with the microscope and learned about the re-programming of stem cells. “I never imagined that stem cells have so many characteristics and that you can even turn skin cells into nerve cells.” states 17-year-old Kai from Cologne.
Alongside with biology the ethical aspects of stem cell research were also part of the agenda. In Düsseldorf the high school students for example discussed ethical questions related to research on human embryos.
The following research institutions in North-Rhine-Westphalia participated in this year’s UniStem Day: