Young UQ science student makes plea for change

3 Nov 2014

A passionate 19-year-old University of Queensland science student attended the United Nations Climate Summit in New York in September, where more than 120 world leaders heard her call for climate change action.

Ms Yu Hung was one of only eight young activists selected from over 2, 000 video entries worldwide to attend the summit. (You can view her winning video entry here)

The Advanced Study Program in Science student, currently completing a research project in Professor Jenny Stow’s lab, hopes to make a positive change in the world.

“I want to make a difference and I think research is the best way that I can do that,” Ms Hung said.

Her passion to make a positive change enticed Ms Hung to enter The Climate Reality Project competition, after seeing it advertised on YouTube.

“I saw the ad about the competition for climate change action and I didn’t click to skip it — instead I thought this is something I can do and something I want to do,” she said.

“It was the most amazing experience to be a voice for young people and to get people talking about climate change.”

Ms Hung shares that same drive in her scientific research.

“I want to improve the efficiency and efficacy of current scientific technology,” Ms Hung said.

Ms Hung’s current project focuses on our immune system, in the hope that such fundamental research may lead to improved treatments for bacterial infections down the track.

“In my research project, I’ve been studying immune cells called macrophages whose job it is to ingest bacteria to defend the body against infection,” Ms Hung said.

“I have shown that two proteins in these macrophages are key for the ingestion of E. coli bacteria.

“This is only preliminary data, but these proteins have the potential to become novel drug targets in antimicrobial treatments in the future,” she said.

Ms Hung hopes to continue to drive change in the world, whether that is climate change action, or through breakthroughs in biomedical research.

You can read more about Stow lab’s research here (

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