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LabSkills Certificate Programme Batch-1

Biosciences students attain the next level of excellence by gaining proactive experience in one of Pakistan’s top Biotech labs    

Peshawar, 20th April, 2017 – In collaboration with the Directorate of Science & Technology, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Institute of Integrative Biosciences (IIB), CECOS University continues to promote young biotech students through the project ‘SynBioKP’. A series of events under the banner of ‘The Future Is Now’ (TFN) aims to empower the next generation of students with trainings, industry talks and conferences. As announced by Dr. Faisal F. Khan (Director, IIB) at a conference held last month, TFN brought yet another cutting-edge opportunity for the students in the form of the ‘LabSkills Certificate Programme’ – an occasion to fill in all gaps in lab skills through an enrichening laboratory experience led by top researchers and scientists in order to facilitate hands-on training in all the foundational methods necessary to work in micro/molecular biology labs.

The training was organized at the Institute of Integrative Biosciences, CECOS on the 19th and 20th April, 2017. In the first of the three trainings, 16 students were trained on state of the art lab equipment. Mr. Adil Salim (Undergraduate Research Coordinator, IIB) remarked that, “We need to put our foot on the pedal in order to promote science in all its sincerity, and its sincerity lies in practical experience, the very thing we lack in Pakistan.”

The program started with an introductory seminar led by Mr. Adil, who welcomed the students cordially. The seminar phased into a briefing session familiarizing students to the contemporary scope of ‘synthetic biology’ along with its future in the world, particularly in Pakistan. The complete picture of SynBioKP was also presented including TFN, iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines) and Community Meetups. Following this, Mr. Adil enlightened the students on ‘foundation tools of synthetic biology’ and ‘basics of solutions and pipetting’.

The institute holds one of the most advanced biotech lab in Pakistan installed with latest laboratory equipment. After a comprehensive seminar, the participants were walked to the lab. Miss Abida Zulfiqar (Research Associate, IIB) directed the students with lab precautions and essential knowhow of the equipment including micropipettes, micro centrifuge etc. Later on, the students were methodically instructed in preparation of some basic solutions. The students were engaged by the trainers Miss Sarah F. Khan (Researcher and iGEM fellow) and Miss Abida in a procedure known as ‘Miniprep Protocol’ used to isolate plasmid DNA from bacterial cells. Finally, the participants resumed lab protocol, wrote reports, and collected their reading materials for the day.

On day two, the students took a written follow-up quiz. Afterwards, they came across consequent complex procedures such as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Agarose Gel Electrophoresis as well as Restriction Digest, all of which they operated individually following instruction. Moreover, the students learnt why and how to cleave DNA at certain positions by analyzing the restriction digests on agarose gel.  Inspiring remarks were delivered to all by assistant director of the Directorate of Science & Technology, Mr Abid Sohail which marked the closing of the training. Certificates were distributed to all participants for their candid participation. Group photos were also taken followed by tea and refreshments.