IBS holds Training Course on Basic Molecular Biology Techniques and Data Analysis

by Merc Emil Matienzo (Riboswitch), Jickerson Lado (Integrons)

Los Baños – Seventeen participants from state universities, private institutions and government agencies gather in UPLB to attend a week-long training course on basic molecular techniques and data analysis, organized by the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (MBB) Laboratories and the Genetics and Molecular Biology Division (GMBD) of the Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) this July 6-10, at the Molecular Genetics Laboratory of IBS.

Among the participants, 15 came from Luzon and one each from the Visayas and Mindanao. Luzon participants include 5 from Laguna (Maria Renina Nissa Agcaoili, Darwin Landicho, Laurie Salumbides, Aldwin Mendoza and Aleli Marasigan), 4 from NCR (Jenny Lyn Chua, Christine Eden Cortez, Kris Ortizo and Joshua Vacarizas), 2 from Cavite (Vanne Christine Angus and Jonathan Digma), and 1 each from Pampanga (Gerald Salas), Albay (Maria Lara Balingasa), Romblon (Eddie Fetalvero), and Sorsogon (Ma. Victoria Hadap). Edgar Hortillosa and Lowell Aribal are from Iloilo City and Bukidnon, respectively.

MBB Laboratories staff and GMBD faculty and facilitators together with the participants.
Photo Courtesy | Prof. Ria Alcabedos

The week-long training course started with an overview of the program and lectures on introductory molecular biology and nucleic acid isolation techniques, followed by hands-on activities on the use of micropippetors, genomic DNA Isolation, agarose gel electrophoresis, and DNA quantitation. First day ended with demonstration on new technologies like Qubit ® Fluorometer and Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer.

Other hands-on activities are amplifications of DNA by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) using gene specific primers (GSPs) and simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Data analyses constitute the rest of the training.
Ms. Gonzales demonstrating the proper use
of micropippetors.
Participants will examine DNA sequences produced from their wet-lab through scoring, sequence editing, homology and alignment. Lectures on different molecular markers and how to download and upload sequences using Genbank will also be conducted. Last dry-lab works include genetic distance analysis and tree building.        

Also included in the training is a tour of the laboratories in UP Diliman-National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (NIMBB), Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Sequencing and Bioinformatics Facility, and Genotyping Services Laboratory (GSL) of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

The event is spearheaded by the MBB Laboratories Management Chair, Dr. Ma. Carmina Manuel and GMBD Head, Dr. Ma. Genaleen Diaz. She was assisted by the over-all and assistant training coordinators, Dr. Rachel Acil and Ms. Aimee Cagalawan. 

Other facilitators and staff include, Prof. Aprill Punongbayan, Ms. Diana Rose Gonzales, Ms. Bernabeth Jo Tendero, Ms. Joan Christine Adajar, Mr. Jickerson Lado, Prof. Riaflor Alcabedos, Mr. Wilson Aala, Ms. Rosalina Tandang, Mr. Eufrocino Aquino, and Mr. John Paul Balboa.
Some facilitators showing liquid
nitrogen for grinding samples

This week-long training course is sponsored by Philippine Genome Center-Cocogenomics Project, BioTriune, Inc. and Fil-anaserve, Inc.

“[For me] very important, kasi kapag sa educ ka superficial lang 'yung binibigay sa'yo, karamihan alam mo more on theory, so dito nakikita mo yung itinuturo at iniimagine, nakikita mo na variable lahat... Sample specific kasi generalized masyado sa mga libro." Eddie Fetalvero, an Instructor from Romblon State University and currently a PhD student of UP Open University, responded when ask about how essential this training would be for him.

Mr. Fetalvero also added that the activities in the training already exceeded his expectations so far, knowing that it was just the second day while commending the facilitators for being too hospitable and humble enough in interacting with the participants.

GeneSoc Represents

An alumna of the organization, Ms. Maria Renina Nissa Agcaoili (Euchromatin), is also present as one of the participants. She told the GENEWS Team that she's really happy and grateful to be back in UPLB after years of not seeing her beloved university.

Being a BS Biology graduate who took up Cell and Molecular Biology as her major, she said that the training really help her recall all the laboratory techniques she learned back in her undergraduate years. "I know that this will be very significant to me especially in my future studies in graduate school," she added.

About the MBB Laboratories, IBS

The Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (MBB) Laboratories of Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) was established in 2002. The MBB Laboratories include the Molecular Genetics, Natural Products, and Toxicology laboratories. IBS-MBB has adequate facilities and equipment for carrying out academic and research activities in different areas of molecular biology and biotechnology.

Most of the equipment was initially obtained through the Department of Science and Technology - Engineering and Science Education Program (DOST-ESEP) and later on through institutional grants from PCIEERD-DOST (formerly PCASTRD) and from other molecular biology-related projects.