The Loop HK 30 Under 30 2017
Founder, Advocate; medical student
Nicole Phoebe Tanner founded Advocate, a website and social media platform that presents scientific research in a more approachable angle to the masses.
So how did she find herself juggling a medical degree and an informative scientific platform?
The Hongkonger has an extensive background in medical research. Now in her fifth year studying medicine, she has been working on various research projects since the beginning. Her first-ever project, on the effects of leisure activities and exercise on post-stroke patients, won first place for its poster and presentation during a conference in Korea.
“These experiences have taught me a lot about research, and the importance of clinical research in our daily medical practice, as well as in the prevention of disease,” Tanner explains. “However, I realized that a lot of amazing research that was being done was trapped in the scientific community, and people outside of this community could not access this knowledge,” she adds. “I felt that there was a gap — so I started my journey into public education.”
Advocate publishes weekly articles in laymen terms, on topics that the team believes are beneficial to the community — such as cancer prevention and mental health. But that’s not all that Tanner has on her plate. She also founded MED, a series of talks featuring medical students discussing research topics with high schoolers. Following a science communication competition where she discussed colorectal cancer and placed runner-up in 2016, she also founded a campaign dubbed Little Poo, which aims to educate children about gut health.
Tanner credits her mother as one of her biggest role models. Her mother raised her in a single-parent household from when she was 2 months old, she explains, before she remarried and quit her job to spend more time to work on building her education.
Her first job? “English tutoring at a center in Quarry Bay.”