The College of Health and Life Sciences (CHLS) recently invited a broad audience of participants to its 'Essential Laboratory Skills in Molecular and Cellular Biology' workshop. The six-day training offered participants a practical hands-on laboratory experience in small and engaging groups under the supervision of senior-level scientists. The sessions, which ran from October 9 to 14, exposed participants to a range of technical skills as well as the theoretical background to expand their scientific knowledge, develop required learning abilities to leverage scientific publications, and initiate independent projects.
The first part of the workshop was led by Dr. Mustapha Aouida, a research scientist and laboratory manager at CHLS. The session taught aspiring researchers how to perform sequence alignment, design primers, perform polymerase chain reaction of a specific gene and carry out in-depth DNA cloning and sequencing, utilizing state-of-the-art approaches to analyze the sequencing results to advance their molecular biology skills.
The second part of the workshop led by Dr. Mohamed Aittaleb, a research scientist and laboratory manager at CHLS, emphasized cell-based assays and confocal microscopy imaging techniques. Participants learned more about the qualitative characteristics of mammalian cells, including how to culture, passage, count and transfect these cells. The participants ran the entire experiment of western blotting from cell lysis to luminescence detection and band quantification/normalization. In parallel, they performed fixation, mounting and preparation of biological samples for optimal imaging. Throughout this section, participants learned how to capture subcellular localization of transiently co-expressed protein of interest and organelle markers, using image acquisition and processing tools of the A1R confocal and Nikon Imaging software.
Participant Yusra Manzoor found the workshop extremely useful, saying: “No matter how much experience you have in performing experiments, it is always beneficial to go back and practice and revise your basic techniques. Through this workshop, I was able to undergo extensive hands-on training which allowed me to better understand and learn some of the key techniques required for cell and molecular biology fields. Not only learn but confidently be able to repeat the experiments independently. I would highly recommend my fellow peers to join this workshop whenever they have the opportunity.”
Amira Shaban Moustafa Saleh Alwa echoed those sentiments, saying: “The workshop was extensive and rich with a variety of concepts and techniques that are of high importance in this research field. We were able to experience real hands-on work from experts in the field of cell culture and cloning.”
For more information about CHLS, as well as its various programs and offerings, click here.