Improvement of the existing knowledge and practices in the fields of medical and life sciences is part of NUMS mission. Training of researchers and healthcare professionals is one of the most suitable approaches to elevate the quality of research and healthcare practices in the country. Skill enhancement of the personnel in the areas lying at the intersection of biomedical research and healthcare practices is the need of the hour to bridge the gap between research and practice. Keeping this in view, a two-day Hands-on training workshop on Real-Time PCR was organized by the Department of Biological Sciences, NUMS in collaboration with Sure Biodiagnostics and Quaid-i- Azam University, at the NUMS PWD campus. A cohort of 25 researchers/academicians and professionals attended this hands-on training workshop, which included practical aspects of qPCR including RNA extraction, cDNA synthesis, assay designing, and data analysis.
In wake of COVID-19 diagnosis and testing, training on Real-Time PCR was a very timely initiative because the national health system is in dire need of a trained human resource for the extensive and accurate testing for COVID-19 across the country. NUMS Department of Biological Sciences has a diverse faculty consisting of researchers with a variety of research expertise. A team from NDBS including Dr. Hussain M. Wahedi, Dr. Liaqat Ali, Dr. Munazza Fatima, Dr. Deeba Amraiz, Dr. Tahir Naeem, and Dr. Humayn Satti actively participated in this training workshop as organizers and trainers. Undergraduate students Fatima Asif and Sidra Qamar along with lab technologists Kaleem Ullah Shah and Muhammad Bilal Khan facilitated the organizer in the arrangements. Dr. Rizwan Alam, and Ms. Durre Shehwar from the Biochemistry department, QAU joined the NUMS team and demonstrated various aspects of RT-PCR. The lecture part consisted of a detailed overview and theoretical knowledge of the Real-time PCR technique and experiment design. Moreover, data acquisition and analysis were also thoroughly demonstrated by the instructors. The event was sponsored by Sure Biodiagnostics, a leading company dealing in scientific equipment and laboratory items. According to the organizers, this training workshop was the first in the series of several training workshops to be organized by the NUMS Department of Biological Sciences in the future. Successful organization and positive feedback from the participants are a really good sign for the NUMS Department of Biological Sciences. It speaks of the research capacity of the NUMS Department of Biological Sciences and its faculty. This experience will not only help in organizing future training workshops in the department but will also increase the outreach of the research portfolio of the department to the research and academic fraternity as well as to the community. The collaborative nature of this will play an important role in developing research and academic collaborations between the researchers from the NUMS Department of Biological Sciences and other universities both at the individual level as well as at the departmental level. Dr. Jawad Hassan, HoD NDBS, distributed certificates to all participants and congratulated the organizing team for the successful conduct of the workshop.