Barely 24 hours after His Excellency President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Rtd. Brigadier Dr. Julius Maada Bio met the Delegation from the Oxford Nanopore Technologies and made a public display of the MinION MK1C Technology device, the said delegation courtesy of the Director, Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. David Monina Senge has commenced a three day intensive hands-on DNA Sequencing Training Workshop on Njala Campus, Njala.

The training which is underway at the University’s molecular and Diagnostic Lab has in attendance laboratory and research personnel from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Ministry of Technical and Higher Education, EPA,  SLARi, Njala University, College of Medicine to name but a few.

Head of Crop Protection, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Raymonda Johnson who also doubles as member of the coordinating Team said the rational of the Programme is to train the participants on DNA Sequencing, to ensure they are able to diagnose diseases which affect crops.

This technology she went on is a portable tool which can be used for other purposes among which are; to detect the semen of alleged rapists, also knowing the biological parents of children, to know the DNA of animals in terms of cross breeding and can also be used for forensic purposes in criminal matters.

Making a statement, Vice Chancellor and Principal, Njala University, Abdullah Mansaray stressed that his administration has leveraged plethora of 21st Century innovations from the Partnership with DSTI describing it as laudable. He expressed delight for hosting the State of the art modem technology on Njala campus and promised to make tremendous use of the DNA Sequencing for the exponential growth of Njala University.

Mamoud Javombo, Ecosystems Manager, Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation said through the help of the Country’s Chief Innovator, Director Dr. David Monina Senge who together with President Dr. Julius Maada Bio engaged the Nanopore Technology Experts from Oxford during HE’s TED TOK in Australia. The team opted to come which they did.

He said DSTI’s involvement is a testament of their support to Sierra Leone in terms of science, technology and innovation adding that they have also deployed data scientists, software developers and Machine learners to benefit from the topnotch technology stressing that they would at the end of the training champion it for full implementation and analysis.

Head of the International delegation from Oxford Nanopore Technologies from UK, Iain Macharen-Lee said the MinION MK1c is designed to enable rapid DNA sequencing in any environment with simple hardware and 4G connectivity. Sierra Leone he disclosed is among few countries in the world to own such an advanced technology.

Director General, Sierra Leone Research Institute, (SLARi), Dr. Mathew L.S. Gboku averred that the technology resonates with the New Direction crescendo and urged the participants present to make judicious use of the ground breaking opportunities for research.

The Portable DNA Sequencing Training workshop is expecting to wrap up on 19th September, 2019.

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