Offers in NRW meet great interest also as virtual formats
On the occasion of the “UniStem Day” on March 5 2021, eight research facilities at various locations throughout North Rhine-Westphalia offered about 300 secondary school students the possibility to deepen their knowledge about stem cell science and gain insights into the working life of researchers and scientists. Due to the current situation all offers took place virtually.
In 2021 the „UniStem Day“ - a Europe-wide activity day on stem cell research for schoolchildren - was held for the thirteenth time already. Various activities like lectures or debates with scientists shall rise the high school students interest in stem cell research, amplify the knowledge gained at school and offer insights into scientific research. A total of 12 institutions all over Germany have virtually opened their doors this year. Alone eight of these institutions are located in North Rhine-Westphalia and involved in the Stem Cell Network NRW!
As on-site events weren’t practicable due to the to the Covid-19 pandemic, the stem cell scientists developed creative formats to provide the interested students with direct insights into stem cell research via digital means. "Despite the coronavirus pandemic, we got an insight into the lab and I found it very interesting that such a serious disease as HGPS can develop due to a point mutation." comments Anna (17). The adapted formats were met with great interest and many of the participating students even had prepared specific questions for the experts so that vivid discussions arose. At the university of Düsseldorf a special focus was put on the ethical aspects of stem cell research. Together with the 56 participants the organizers discussed among others the moral questions of the Jiankui He case. The interest was so great that the original time frame of the contribution even had to be overrun. Legal aspects of stem cell research were discussed within the framework of the Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology’s contribution. The participants learned that research on new technologies, their application, and the framework conditions to be considered always go hand in hand with questions of normative classification and that the legal situation is very different within Europe. While in Belgium or England, for example, scientists are given a relatively large number of research opportunities, the German legislation is very restrictive.
Despite the fact that this years UniStem Day took place under very special circumstances, the participants were very satisfied with the event and draw a very positive conclusion. “It is astonishing to see what technology is capable of nowadays and what knowledge for the future has been gained from stem cells. Direct therapies can't be applied through the methods yet, but diseases can be better analyzed through stem cells and their proliferation." summarizes Faruk (18) his findings from UniStem Day at the University Hospital in Cologne.
The following research institutions in North-Rhine-Westphalia participated in the
UniStem Day 2021 :
All offers took place virtually.
Due to the pandemic, the offers of the following institutions have been postponed to summer 2021: