WACCBIP Public Engagement Outreach Programme To KNUST
The West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) organised a Public Engagement programme at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). The event which took place on November 18, 2016 was held at the Department of Microbiology, KNUST.
The main purpose of the outreach was to present general information about WACCBIP to increase awareness of the Centre, present undergraduate and post graduate students with existing opportunities for graduate and postdoctoral work, create opportunities to increase WACCBIP funding in terms of marketing our equipment to faculty and staff for their research and explore collaborative partnerships. The 6-member delegation was led by Dr Lydia Mosi, a faculty of WACCBIP and a senior lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, and Hadassah Odotei, the Centre’s Public Engagement Specialist. The team also consisted of Mr. Balapangu Shankar Srinivasan, the Laboratory Technologist of WACCBIP, Wilhelmina Annie Mensah, a second year PhD student, Temitope Wilson Ademolue, a Research Assistant and an international graduate student of WACCBIP’s MPhil programme and Marian Nanor, a graduate intern.
Dr Mohammed Mutocheluh, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Microbiology, KNUST and a visiting lecturer at WACCBIP, hosted the WACCBIP team. About 60 graduate and undergraduate students from 5 Departments, as well as some faculty from the School of Medical Sciences participated in the programme. It began with a brief overview of WACCBIP as well as the centre’s mission and objectives by Dr Lydia Mosi. She went on to explain the centre’s graduate programmes and MPhil, PhD and post-doctoral fellowships, the graduate internship programmes and the short courses/workshops offered by WACCBIP. Dr Mosi also elaborated on the requirements for admission into the centre’s programmes.
During Mr. Temitope Ademolue’s presentation, he highlighted his experience at WACCBIP as an international student. He also commended the quality of faculty, research and the availability of equipment and laboratory supplies which helped facilitate research. His presentation also emphasized the cordial student-lecturer/supervisor relationship at the centre as well as opportunities for socialization. Mr Ademolue also shared his experience on how he had the platform to present his research to world class scientists in the field during the centre’s workshops and research conferences.
In the third presentation for the programme, Mr B.S Srinivasan, the Laboratory Technologist of WACCBIP, focused on showcasing the centre’s equipment, their specifications, functions and special features. These equipment included the Flow Cytometer, Biosafety Cabinets, Quant Studio 5 Real Time PCR System, Magpix Luminex system, Amersham Gel Documentation System, Nano Drop Spectrophotometer, Eppendorf Electroporator, Inverted microscope with AxioCam Camera and Accessories, Blitz Protein Analyses System, Stuart rotary evaporator pump, Brunswick incubator shaker, Autolab with module, Thermo Fisher Varioskan LUX Micro Plate Reader, high capacity CO2 and shaky incubators. He also added that these equipment could be used by outsiders at a moderate fee. Mr Srinivasan also touched on the WACCBIP’s research themes namely Molecular diagnosis, Pathogen genomics/bioinformatics, Molecular epidemiology for surveillance, Disease pathogenesis and immunity, target discover for drug and vaccine development. He also mentioned how these equipment are used to facilitate research in these areas.
In the course of the outreach event, Wilhelmina Mensah, a WACCBIP PhD student, also did an insightful presentation on her experience so far at WACCBIP. She discussed the courses, research, seminars/workshops and conferences as well as extracurricular activities for students at the Centre.
Ms Odotei summed up all the presentations and invited the participants at the event to engage with WACCBIP online and take advantage of all the opportunities presented. She thanked all participants for gracing the occasion and being very engaging in their interaction. Dr Mutocheluh and Dr Sakyi, a lecturer at the School of Medical Sciences also commended the centre on its achievements and urged the students to enrol at WACCBIP.
The programme ended with a visit to the Regional Water and Environmental Sanitation Centre, KNUST (RWESCK), the African Centre of Excellence at KNUST.