The Cebu Technological University – Barili, through the Center for Studies in Biotechnology, collaborated with Dr. Charisse Flerida A. Pasaje of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in a series of webinars and workshops to capacitate the former’s faculty and students in research. The first activity was a seminar-workshop on “How to publish research findings” held on 08 September 2022. It guided participants in writing publication-ready scientific articles from their completed research. Participants were generally critical about avoiding plagiarism and scrutinizing predatory journals, both discussed in the workshop.
A three-part webinar series was also kicked off a week later, on 15 September 2022, with the topic “Techniques in molecular biology: from DNA, RNA, to protein,” which aimed to provide insights into biotechnology fundamentals. Molecular biology techniques can be used in a wide range of scientific fields, as evidenced by the participation of registrants from varying institutions and professions. Attendees, comprised mostly of students, appreciated the animated and detailed explanation of the central dogma of molecular biology, the polymerase chain reaction, and recombinant DNA technology.
In the second part of the webinar series, Dr. Pasaje delved more into the applications of molecular biology in infectious disease research and health sciences. It was a timely topic because it offered a better understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic, which left the world at a standstill for longer than we would have liked. Participants learned the role of biotechnology in disease diagnosis, vaccine production, gene therapy, and CRISPR-Cas9.
The culminating webinar was on “Functional genomics for rapid and accurate antimalarial drug discovery,” which focused on specific biotechnology applications for malarial research. Dr. Pasaje shared her research on antimalarial drug discovery, from identifying a gene of interest to evaluating its significance on the overall fitness of the pathogen. It was an informative talk on how much work goes into finding cures for malaria and other diseases.
Biotechnology offers versatile tools that can be utilized in different fields of science. Research explorations with these tools have practically endless possibilities. The Center for Studies in Biotechnology is optimistic that the linkage activities put molecular biology in a less harsh light and encourage faculty and students to use it in their research.
Words by Kristy Amor Garcia