A workshop themed Molecular and computational methods for emerging pathogens research was held Tuesday, 15 through Friday, 18 March 2016.
The growing repertoire of infectious pathogens requires a rapid and informed response to outbreak prevention and control as well as to the detection and management of infected people. The workshop thus focused on the molecular and computational methods that can be used to augment classical microbiological and epidemiologic techniques for identifying, containing and exterminating microbial pathogens. Most of the workshop participants were advanced post-graduate students and early-career investigators in The Biomedical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Public Health and Medical Sciences.
Using pathogenic Escherichia coli as an anchoring case, participants were introduced to both theoretic and hands-on methods in the following aspects:
• DNA extraction and handling
• Polymerase chain reaction-based methods for microbial identification and sub-categorization
• Sequencing genes and genomes
• Introduction to sequence databases; Using sequence databases to conduct searches
• Downloading matches and comparative analyses
• Exploring genetic relationships using phylogenetics and comparative genomics
• Introduction to whole genome analyses and whole genome analytical tools
• Biomolecular visualization
• Computational modelling in drug design.
All these are essential for identifying and addressing emerging infectious disease threats.
Project development and proposal writing was not left out, since this will benefit participants in documenting research results in contemporary, presentable formats.
Resource persons at the workshop from outside the University of Ibadan and Nigeria include: Professor Ikemefuna Uzochukwu (Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka), Dr Chinyere Okoro (Society-in-Science, Branco Weiss Fellow) as well as Professor Iruka Okeke, Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, University of Ibadan.