Newsletter No. 130

Leadin g Environmenta l Microbiologis t Speak s on Bioremediatio n W orld renowned environmental microbiologist Prof. Ronald M. Atlas (left 4 ) o f the University o f Louisville delivered the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund Visiting Professorship Scheme Public Lecture entitled 'Bioremediation of Petroleum Pollutants' at the University on 20th July. Prof. Atlas's most noteworthy work is in the field of petroleum microbiology, specifically in the microbe's function in bioremediation of petroleum spills i n marine environments. Bioremediation is a cost-effective means o f speeding up the removal of petroleum hydrocarbon pollutants f r om soil and water. It has been used in the Amoeo Cadiz oil spill, the Ixtock well blowout in the Gu lf o f Mexico, and the Exxon Valdez oil spills. Prof. Atlas i s we ll published in the area of environmental microbiology and biotechnology. He has served on many government committees and advisory boards for environmental protection and has been active i n discussions on the potential misuse of microorganisms and the threat o f bioterrorism and biological warfare. He currently co-chairs the American Society for M i c r ob i o l og y 's Task Force o n Biological Weapons. Advanced Computers Acquired for Cervical Cancer Prevention A bout 150 women die from cervical cancer in Hong Kong each year. However only a third o f women have had a Pap smear test. Studies show that the majority of women who develop cervical cancer have not had a Pap smear or have been tested infrequently. An AutoPap 300 QC machine and Pathfinder 'Helper' computers have recently been installed at the community clinic for the prevention of cervical cancer at the Faculty of Medicine for early detection of lesions to ensure the accuracy of Pap smears. The clinic, established in 1995, is the first in Hong Kong to employ such computer technology for this purpose. The equipment was acquired with a HK$5.25 million donation from the Hong Kong Cancer Fund. Normal cervix cells Pre-cancer cervix cells Exchange wi th a Nautical Flavour U nder the Hong Kong-Mainland- Taiwan University Student Exchange Programme organized by New Asia College, students from New Asia College visited the Ocean University of Qindao and National Taiwan Ocean University in May and June under the supervision of Profs. Fung Ming-chiu and Lam Hon- ming. They participated in a symposium and visits related to the programme's theme for this year, 'Ocean and Mankind'. Then i n July, delegations from the two partner universities paid a return visit to New Asia College, during which they were given a tour of the Harbour Hydraulic Laboratory, the Hong Kong International Terminal, Ocean Park, and Po Lin Temple, and took part ill a symposium. Reception given by New Asia College for the delegations from Taiwan and the mainland Care for Postnatal Depressive Mothers R esearch shows that one in 10 women in Hong Kong suffer from post-natal depression. I f unattended, i t may lead to family problems and even suicide and infanticide. Yet i t i s not easy for families and the mothers to recognize post-natal depression, making early diagnosis and treatment of the problem very difficult. In collaboration with the Prince of Wales Hospital, the departments o f Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Psychiatry have launched a large-scale systematic clinical screening service since 1 st July to help fight against post-natal depression. Locally validated and internationally recognized psychometric instruments are used to identify proactively women suffering from post-natal depression i n the initial months postpartum and t o provide appropriate care for these women. The service is the first of its kind which deals with the problem using a preventive approach. The service is actually the extension of a research on the same subject which began in 1995 at the University and the Prince of Wales Hospital. Pregnant women attending the Obstetrics Unit of the Prince of Wales Hospital and their spouses are educated in antenatal classes about post-natal depression and given questionnaires upon discharge from the postnatal ward. Those needing treatment are attended to accordingly. A hotline and a psychiatrist-on-call service have also been established for emergency contact and consultation. University S t u d e n t s W in Checkers Competition T wo postgraduate students from the University's Department of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management, Kenny Lam Wai-ip and Timothy Chan Kun- chung, won the Computer Chinese Checkers competition held o n 27th June at Hong Kong Baptist University. The competition was organized by the Association for Computing Machinery ( ACM) Hong Kong Chapter. The competitors came from the University of Macau, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and The Chinese University. They had to design and develop Chinese checker-playing computer programs before the competition and compete using the programs. The game is played on a six-point star-shaped board between two players at two different points. The objective is to move all one's marbles across the chess board to occupy the opponent's home area. Secondary 7 Students Savouring the CU Campus A bout 150 Secondary 7 students enrolled in a week-long summer class on campus from 20th to 25th July. This was the second summer course i n languages and general education organized by the University in two years. The students took both language and general education courses and participated in extracurricular activities including visits to different departments and the Prince of Wales Hospital. Upon completion of the courses, the students were awarded a certificate of attendance. They may be partially exempted from the general education and first-year language course requirements i f they were eventually admitted to the University. The programme aims at heightening the awareness o f the importance o f language skills and general education, and fostering closer links between the University and local secondary schools. Participants of the Summer Class outside the Science Centre