HBKU students learn skills and techniques essential in scientific or clinical settings
Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU)’s College of Health and Life Sciences (CHLS) hosted the 2022 spring edition of the “Essential Laboratory Skills in Molecular and Cellular Biology” workshop, held in person at the CHLS laboratories at Penrose House.
Dr. Mohamed Aittaleb and Dr. Mustapha Aouida, research scientists and CHLS lab managers, presented the six-day intensive course from February 26 to March 3. The goal was to engage HBKU students to expand their scientific knowledge, improve their technical skills, and develop their learning abilities in a highly interactive environment. In addition to HBKU students, staff from ExxonMobil and Qatar University attended the workshop.
The laboratory setting was conducive to experiential learning for the students and offered a focus on molecular biology and cell biology skills. These skills give students a grounding to work in a laboratory setting and in scientific fields such as food science, biotechnology, or forensics, as well as understand scientific publications, or develop their own laboratory-based projects.
Leading the molecular biology session, Dr. Aouida focused on how to perform sequence alignment, design PCR primers, and carry out in-depth DNA cloning and mutagenesis. Participants then learned how to analyze the sequencing results, among other molecular biology skills.
Dr. Aittaleb presented a hands-on session on cell biology, with an emphasis on confocal microscopy imaging. Participants learned how to culture, passage, count, and transfect mammalian cells. They also learned about fixation, mounting, and handling a biological sample for optimal imaging and gained exposure to available image acquisition and processing tools.
Speaking after the program, Dr. Dindial Ramotar, Head of the Biomedical and Biological Sciences (BBS) at CHLS, said: “Our essential lab skills workshops are always highly sought after. The sessions are designed to help students tie together their theoretical knowledge with the skills and techniques that are essential in a variety of clinical or scientific careers. This is in keeping with the college’s active engagement with students to create a learning environment conducive to their needs. Students also gained exposure to newer, cutting-edge equipment and procedures, which is what distinguishes our CHLS graduates.”