Talk for Victoria Junior College and River Valley High School
On 4 and 12 July 2018, Prof Jonathan LOH from the Department of Biological Sciences delivered a talk on “Stem cells and its potential” at River Valley High School and Victoria Junior College. About 200 students attended each talk.
Prof Loh introduced the students to the concept of stem cell self-renewal and pluripotency, and used hematopoietic stem cells as an example of how adult stem cells in our body regenerate. He then pointed out the limitation of adult stem cells which have restricted differentiation capacity. Hence, embryonic stem cells (ESCs) with greater differentiation potential are more favourable in regeneration.
Prof Loh shared that the use of ESCs has however been mired by ethical, moral and legal issues. As such, a new type of stem cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from the patient’s own cells hold potential for future stem cell therapeutic applications. Prof Loh highlighted that since iPSCs could be derived from any cell types in our body, they are counter-intuitive and demonstrate the plasticity of cell-fates.