CEBIB Postgraduates Tour BecA-ILRI Hub, Nairobi - Kenya

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Date and time: 
Thu, 06/20/2019 - 21:00
Location / Venue: 

BecA-ILRI Hub, Nairobi - Kenya

Photo 1: CEBIB postgraduates pose for a photo with BecA-ILRI Hub Team.

On Friday, June 21, 2019, thirteen CEBIB students, three interns and two staff members participated in a one-day academic tour to Biosciences eastern and central Africa - International Livestock Research Institute hub (BecA-ILRI hub), Nairobi - Kenya. The cohort mainly comprised of MSc Bioinformatics/ Biotechnology students in the process of completing coursework in the respective fields. The BecA-ILRI hub hosts, namely, Dr. Wellington Ekaya (Senior Scientist - Capacity Building and Head of Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF) Program),  Dr. Roger Pelle (BecA-ILRI  Hub’s Principal Scientist -  Capacity Building), Dr. Josephine Birungi (BecA-ILRI Hub’s Technology Manager), Dr. Jean-Baka Domelevo Entfellner (BecA-ILRI Hub’s Head of Bioinformatics),  and John Juma (BecA-ILRI Hub’s Bioinformatician) received and warmly the students.

CEBIB’s staff that accompanied the students gave presentations on an overview of the postgraduate programmes offered at CEBIB, and a snippet of research conducted at the Centre from the Nairobi Innovation Week award-winning poster was presented by MSc Bioinformatics student, Mr. Lunayo Accadius.

Dr. Roger Pelle introduced the BecA Programme detailing their core operations, inter alia, demand-driven research, individual/institutional capacity building through Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF) fellowships, technology and research related services such as e-Biokit training and installation, training courses and workshops such as introduction to molecular biology and bioinformatics, lab management and equipment operations, product development for improved agriculture and building networks to increase impact.

Dr. Jean-Baka highlighted the platforms available for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) particularly the integrated genotyping service and support (IGSS) based on the HiSeq and MiSeq Illumina platforms, in addition to the portable Oxford Nanopore technology; type of data generated and the analyses performed on generated data. It was pointed out that students submitting samples for sequencing are provided adequate opportunity to have a holistic experience in sequencing processes.

Photo 2: CEBIB postgraduates pose for a photo wearing lab gear before touring labs

The students toured selected labs in the ILRI campus. Julius Osaso, BecA-ILRI Hub’s Diagnostic Platform Manager, explained to the students the significance of the Azizi bio-repository where samples are stored in liquid nitrogen generated from on-site air-compressor. The bio-repository ensures proper sample storage with high-quality metadata.

At the Central Core, the unit which provides glass-washing, media preparation, sterilization, and waste management support services to scientist, the Technical staff explained to the students the operations of the industrial-scale digital autoclaves, mechanized lab glassware washing process, and showed the standard operating procedures and protocols adhered to in the workstation.

The students interacted with Research Scientist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) staff in the molecular biology (transgenic) lab. The staff demonstrated the outcome of the practical application of the gene editing technology, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and CRISPR-associated protein 9 (CRISPR-cas9), on plantain to enhance tolerance to disease-causing plant pathogens. Practical application of the transformation processes in banana using Agrobacterium tumefaciens was demonstrated.

Photo 3: CEBIB postgraduates following Dr. SR Ghimire's presentation on Brachiaria brizantha at ILRI demonstration field.

Dr. Sita Ram Ghimire, BecA-ILRI Hub’s Principal Scientist and Technical Lead of Research explained about the research on Brachiaria brizantha grass species including mechanism and challenges of propagation, nutritional composition, and benefits to livestock. Findings from his research team in field demonstration studies in various regions in Kenya illustrated that Brachiaria brizantha can be propagated as feed by the majority of dairy farmers in the country. Dr. Ghimire announced competitive opportunities for research on diseases and pests that affect Brachiaria brizantha.

The team concluded the tour with an open discussion on bioinformatics landscape in Kenya and a visit to the institution’s server room housing the state-of-the-art computing infrastructure.

Photo 4: Open discussion session on bioinformatics landscape in Kenya, chaired by Dr. Jean-Baka



Expiry Date: 
Fri, 12/30/2022 - 21:00
Contact Person: 


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