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Dream of the Plant Scientists

Prof. Samuel S.M. Sun, research professor of biology, School of Life Science, CUHK, was invited to speak at the CUHK 50th Anniversary Public Lecture titled 'The Dream of Hong Kong Plant Scientists' on 17 September in the Central Library.

According to Professor Sun, the ultimate goal of the plant scientists is to feed all the people in the world. He said, 'With the rise in population, the amount of arable land will decrease. It is estimated that the food supply might not meet demand in the long run and money can't solve the problem.' Therefore, his research team focuses on how to improve the yield and nutritional quality of staple crop such as rice and soybean through basic and applied research, and the application of molecular and biotechnological approaches. Professor Sun introduced a few research projects of his team. These include the study of the relation between water and plant growth, which led to the development of a new farming method for dry conditions; a project on restoring the characteristics of soybean by reinstating the selected original genes to make it drought-resistant; and a project on enhancing the nutritive value of rice by introducing protein, vitamin A and E, zinc and iron into new species.

Ley by Professor Sun and formed by a group of plant scientists, the research team succeeded in establishing an Area of Excellence in plant biotechnology with the support of the University Grants Committee (UGC) more than a decade ago. The team's outstanding achievements was assessed as 'world-class' by the international monitoring panel of the UGC.