A 3-day hands-on training workshop on Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique has been organized at the Virus Research and Molecular Biology Laboratory of the Department of Clinical Microbiology, School of Medical Sciences (SMS) from 31st January to 2nd February 2018. The workshop which drew student participants from the Colleges of Health Sciences and Science, was organized following feedback obtained from participants of a previous training workshop on Western Blot technique at the same facility in September 2017.
Dr. Patrick Feglo, the Head of Department of Clinical Microbiology in his welcome address said that PCR is a molecular technique developed to manipulate DNA for various purposes; and currently has its advanced versions such as Real Time PCR, Multiplex PCR, Multilocus Variable Number Tandem Repeat Analysis (MLVA), Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) and others. These tools he said, are used in disease diagnosis, fingerprinting of pathogens and epidemiological studies, forensic investigations amongst others. He expressed gratitude to the postgraduate students for taking part in the workshop to acquire practical skills in molecular techniques such as PCR that may be needed for their research work to enable them publish their research findings in high impact journals.
In another development, the coordinator and lead facilitator of the workshop, Dr. Mohamed Mutocheluh in a short address said he was impressed by the interest shown by participants in acquiring skills at the workshop. He added that such training workshops aside skills development, also give participants the opportunity to network and to be mentored by facilitators who have advanced knowledge in the application and practice in some of these molecular techniques. According to Dr. Mutocheluh, 24 individuals comprising faculty staff and students registered for the hands-on training workshop; however, only 10 participants could be accommodated by the facility due to the cost in organizing such a workshop which he estimated to be about GH₵5000.
During the 3-day workshop, participants learned the principles underlying processes such as DNA extraction and quantification; primer design, preparation of master mix, PCR protocols and storage of PCR products. Others included principles and practice of agarose gel electrophoresis and gel imaging. All participants did hands-on practice on the various steps in performing PCR from DNA extraction and quantification, master mix preparation, thermocycling and agarose gel electrophoresis of PCR products. Additionally, participants were given the opportunity to enhance their micropipetting skills.
In attendance was the Dean of SMS, Prof Daniel Ansong. The facilitators were Dr. Samuel Asamoah-Sakyi, Dr. Christian Obirikorang, and Dr. Max Annani-Akollor, all of Department of Molecular Medicine. Others were Dr. Patrick Narkwa, Department of Clinical Microbiology, Mrs Lorraine Sallah, Department of Physiology and Dr. Isaac Okai, Department of Anatomy.
The workshop was sponsored by the School of Medical Sciences (SMS),KNUST; the West African Center for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) of the University of Ghana and the Convention for Biomedical Research Ghana (CoBReG).