People Stories

Talent & Sector Development

At the forefront of human development

Serena Dai: “I hope Hong Kong can continue to be a fair and just society, where the needy can receive care and support.”

Serena studied Molecular Biotechnology at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, having been educated in New York at primary school level and Beijing at secondary level. She actively participated in volunteer services during her university years, assisting refugees in Hong Kong to pursue their dreams. The Jockey Club Scholarship enabled her to pursue further studies at the University of Oxford, where she completed a DPhil in Zoology. She has since then continued research in the field of genetics. And her big goal? “I want to contribute to the development of mankind.”

Serena says with a smile that people often do not understand the relevance of biology to their daily lives. “In fact, basic biology is a starting point, similar to laying a good foundation before constructing a building. Basic science is closely related to different areas of any society and has wide applications.” The mentor who enlightened Serena was a biotechnology project tutor who was looking to find and screen soybeans plants which were naturally resistant to high salinity.

By the time Serena came to study in Hong Kong, she was already fascinated by the diversity of the animal world. Driven by her curiosity and ambition, she decided to study zoology at the University of Oxford, conducting research on the relationship between pancreatic gene evolution and diabetes. The liberal learning model in the United Kingdom further broadened her horizons and created a profound impact on her research and development.

Serena is currently researching gene evolution at the Institute of Zoology, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Her research will be widely used in the biotechnology field and will benefit future medical or industrial technology development. She hopes everyone will learn to love science, and understand its direct relationship to daily life and substantial influence on human development.

Did you know?

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Scholarships programme hopes students it supports will not only fulfil their academic potential, but also serve the community.

Over the past 25 years, scholarship recipients have come from a wide range of backgrounds, from local Chinese students to ethnic minority students, and from those who pursue music, atmospheric science, aerospace engineering and zoology, to budding teachers and educators. The programme has supported a number of students with special learning needs.

All scholarship recipients are members of The Jockey Club Scholars Alumni Association, forming a close-knit group to perform community service.