IITA Bioscience Center in collaboration with the Capacity Development Office, organized a five-day training workshop on molecular biology techniques, for National Agricultural Researchers (NARs) across Universities and Research Institutes in Nigeria. The training, which was targeted at familiarizing students and researchers with the science of biotechnology through hands-on training, took place on 4–8 November at the IITA Ibadan campus.
In his welcome address, Head of Genetic Resources Center Michael Abberton enjoined the participants to maximze the opportunity and learn as much as possible to take back with them to their various institutions. “I wish you the very best during your stay throughout this course,” he said.
As the second training for the year, the workshop was on molecular biology techniques, involving both the dry and wet lab sessions. The training entailed an overview of DNA extraction, sample preparation for electrophoresis, quantification of extracted DNA using Nano-Drop Spectrophotometer, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Introduction to molecular markers and their application in Biotechnology, Sanger DNA Sequencing, Diversity Arrays Technology (DArTseq), and analysis of Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reactions (qPCR).
Describing her experience, Bibitayo Faluyi from the Department of Medical Microbiology Parasitology at Babcock University, said the trainers used simple language and this helped her to gain new knowledge that will be used back in her university. “I look forward to coming back for another training next year,” she added.
Another participant, Yigasira Barile, a Microbiologist from the Afe Babalola University, said that despite the number of participants, everyone had the privilege of individually experimenting, “giving us a deeper and clearer understanding of what we have been taught in the classroom.” After the training and tour of IITA facilities and research fields, he highlighted how pleased he was to have visited the Institute. “I would recommend that people come to IITA and see the beauty of science,” he included.
The participants received certificates after the evaluation of the effectiveness of the training. Aside from serving as a evidence of hands-on training, the certificate has the added advantage for participants who plan to study abroad and for job employment. One of the participants from ABU Zaria confirmed it when he said, “this training is a prerequisite for promotion in my organization.”
IITA Bioscience Center organizes training annually to give students and researchers the opportunity to gain practical knowledge of biotechnology. A lot of people have the theoretical knowledge but have not been exposed to first-hand experience due to lack of facilities. The Bioscience Laboratory Manager, Yemi Fasanmade noted that IITA has excellent facilities for practical experience. “Since we do this on a daily basis, we decided on extending the training to national researchers to understand the practical aspect of biotechnology,” she said.