It is with great excitement that the Maiden team arrived to The Gambia for the 6th edition of the Wellcome Trust Advance Course in Molecular Approaches to Clinical Microbiology in Africa hosted by Professor Martin Antonio at the MRC The Gambia.
Carina Brehony (lab manager) has arrived first from Ireland, followed by Keith Jolley (lead bioinformaticien), Martin Maiden (professor and master mind behind the course) from Oxford and I, Kanny Diallo (Lab assistant) arriving from Mali where I am currently doing a fieldwork project. We have also met with other instructors and some participant during the travels.
This one week intensive course is the opportunity for 20 African microbiologists to be trained, hands-on, on different molecular techniques that can be applied to their work when they go back to their institutions. During the days the participant alternate between lab work, lectures, bioinformatics work and discussion cessions.
It is also a great networking event as participant comes from everywhere in Africa. This year we had participants from Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zambia, Tanzania, Cameroon, Botswana, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa and The Gambia.
The host country change every year, which also allow us (and the participants) to work in a different research centre in Africa. This is also an opportunity to see how things are done in other institutions. The MRC Gambia is an impressive research centre, with state of the art facilities and equipment, highly trained staff, a perfect environment to do research. There have been many highlights to this course. from being featured in the local TV journal, to visiting the molecular diagnostic lab, Martin Maiden’s sequencing dance, the great lectures from the instructors and the many discussions we had with the participant over lunch or tea break.
The next class will be at the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust; Malawi here we come !!!