A team of 10 college students with an interest in research gained a solid foundation in hands-on laboratory skills thanks to a new training programme launched by Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q). The students spent a week working in WCM-Q’s state-of-the-art laboratories learning key practical skills from the college’s world-class biomedical research faculty on the Young Scientist Journey to Research programme.
The programme, open to Qatari nationals and long-term residents aged 18 and over who are college students, comprises four training workshops covering essential laboratory techniques in biomedical research, these being principles of cell culture; protein extraction, separation and detection using the Western blot method; fluorescence imaging and confocal microscopy, and the basics of cloning and bacterial transformation.
In addition, the participants learned lab safety protocols, had the chance to conduct scientific experiments under the supervision of WCM-Q lab staff, and gained experience in research data analysis using special formulas and programmes. The students trained in the laboratories of Dr Khaled Machaca, professor of physiology and biophysics/senior associate dean for research, innovations, and commercialisation, and Dr Dietrich Büsselberg, associate dean for admissions/professor of physiology and biophysics.
The programme was the brainchild of Dr Laith Abu Raddad, associate dean for extramural research funding, professor of population health sciences and director of the biostatistics, epidemiology, and biomathematics research core in an effort to support the training of Qatari nationals and residents in research early in their scientific career. The programme was developed and implemented through the efforts of a committee led by Dr Raphael Courjaret, assistant professor of research in physiology & biophysics.
Dr Machaca said: “The Young Scientist Journey to Research programme at WCMQ gives ambitious young students direct, hands-on experience of life in a working biomedical research laboratory. The students who have just completed our inaugural cycle of the programme did exceptionally well, rising to each challenge and learning a great deal of practical knowledge and skills, as well as discovering an entry point that could eventually lead to a rewarding career in biomedical research. In this way, the programme furthers WCM-Q’s mission to build research capacity in Qatar in line with the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030 to build a vibrant R&D sector in the country.”