NTU: More Than “Highly Trained Professionals”: Department of Life Science Hosts Long-running Seminar Series

The Department of Life Science launched its celebrated Seminar Series on September 24, 2015. Ever since, the Seminar Series has been a regular bi-weekly event held during the lunch hour every other Friday, with professors and experts sharing their latest research achievements and updates from industry. Over 80 leading professionals in life science fields have been invited to contribute to the series so far. With the enthusiastic participation of faculty and students of the Department of Life Science, the series is an established campus fixture.

The Seminar Series was the brainchild of Prof. Chii-Shen Yang. Prof. Yang reports that he got the idea of a seminar series when he was a graduate student in the United States. At American universities, many departments organize seminar and lecture series for the students and faculty, but this was not a popular trend at NTU when Prof. Yang started teaching there. Consequently, Prof. Yang brainstormed with several colleagues in July 2014, and the idea came to fruition a year later. Prof. Yang jokes that besides becoming “highly trained professionals,” he wanted life science students to stay creative by opening themselves up to the wider academic circle as well as industry.

The College of Life Science is known for research that has both academic and application value, and the Seminar Series is designed accordingly. Not only can series help the students keep abreast of the latest developments in industry as well as academia, department faculty are encouraged to collaborate with their counterparts in other fields. Prof. Yang himself was inspired by a professor from the Department of Electrical Engineering who attened the seminar series; they began a collaboration and eventually published a paper in an academic journal. Over the past 6 years, series presentations have covered a wide range of topics, for example drug development, protein structure, cryogenic electron microscopy, bacterial information transmission, medical imaging, biomedical patent regulations, among a host of others.

The Seminar Series organized by the Department of Biochemical Science and Technology.
Each series presentation attracts 50 to 60 participants. Since it is now a regular campus event, participation has become part of university life. Fancy posters are prepared to introduce the series presenters, with detailed information about their academic background and research achievements. The poster give even those who cannot attend a chance to know something about the presenters. Besides positive feedback from series participants, tangible support from the deans and administration has helped make the Seminar Series a great success. After all, it takes a village to continue passing on a great tradition.

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