On Sunday, May 21st, two of our researchers attended the “22q at the Zoo – Worldwide Awareness Day” in Subotica, at the Palić zoo. The event was organized by non-governmental and non-profit association “22q ex YU”, founded by parents of children with microdeletion 22q11.2 who live in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The main initiator of the event at worldwide level was the International 22q11.2 Foundation. This worldwide event gathers around families and friends of patients with 22q11.2 syndrome, and also professionals in this area, giving them a chance to socialize and raise public awareness of 22q11.2 syndrome. Participants are recognizable by wearing official “22q at the Zoo” red T-shirts. This year, our two researchers spread awareness at the Subotica zoo by handing out 22q11.2 fact sheets and educating guests and zoo visitors about the syndrome and STREAMLINE goals and activities.
Our researchers spent the day with patients and their families, enjoying the nature, watching animals and visiting kids adventure park. They gained insight into the life of patients with 22q11.2 syndrome and their daily struggles, but also became familiar with their way of thinking and their many talents. They also met people from a nonprofit organization called ’’Zvuci srca’’, which helps the inclusion of disabled individuals into society. Our researchers also got contact information of volunteer patients who will donate their cells for reprograming to iPSCs and thus contribute the research of neurodevelopmental disorders.
On this occasion, participants were introduced to the importance of the STREAMLINE project, the research and application potential of the “iPSC-based” model system. This is supported by the fact that some of the patients present at the event, signed up to donate their somatic cells for reprogramming. To our delight a lot of the participants already knew a lot about our project, some even attended our symposium at the child clinic „Tiršova“ on the 9th of december, 2023.