Kids marvel at human genome


20 teens to tour McGill University Génome Quebec Innovation Centre

A special show-and-tell took place at the McGill University Génome Quebec Innovation Centre on July 12.

Twenty underprivileged young people — 15 of them girls from grades 9, 10 and 11 — were invited to visit the cutting-edge labs on McGill's campus. The visit was organized by the Université de Montréal as part of Project SEUR: Sensibilisation aux études universitaires et à la recherche.

Dr. Tom Hudson, founder of the McGill University and Génome Quebec Innovation Centre, offered visiting teens a crash course on the human genome. Hudson explained how on-site scientists are hunting for treatments for complex genetic disorders such as cardiac disease, asthma and a wide range of research initiatives, including haplotyping of the human genome (HapMap).

SEUR's mission — in conjunction with Polyglobe, a group that advocates for continued education among the disadvantaged — is to foster a thirst for advanced education among promising young minds.

Some 100 young people are scheduled to take part in SEUR, every week from June 21 to August 6. The Université de Montréal organizes SEUR as week-long educational experiences, which are offered for free to underprivileged kids and girls so they may see first-hand that universities are not ivory towers.