NEPAD SANBio facilitates BIUST bioprocess training workshop

Class in session

Due to advancements in technology, demand for bioprocess technology is on the rise. Bioprocess technology entails the development of production processes of microorganisms, or their components to obtain desired products. R&D is conducted such that high efficiency production processes are developed, and that the final product meets end user requirements.

Last week, 15-19 July 2019 the Council for Scientific Research and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Chemical Cluster together with the Biomanufacturing Industry Development Centre (BIDC) hosted third year Biological Science students from the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) for a bioprocess workshop training.

The workshop was presented over 5 days and covered key aspects of Bioprocess Development with an emphasis on Recombinant Protein Production and Purification at Bench-scale. 

According to the course coordinator, Dr Ghaneshree Moonsamy, the training course was designed to cover theoretical aspects (lectures, case studies and syndicate activities) as well as conduct practical demonstrations. Insights into Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) and how it impacts on the bioprocess research and development and business, Bio-entrepreneurship, mostly from the CSIR (Hub of the NEPAD SANBio) spin out companies, and Bio-manufacturing considerations were also included.

A case study on the Nagoya Protocol on Access on ABS was presented by NEPAD Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) Programme Manager, Dr Sechaba Bareetseng.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access aims to ensure benefit-sharing by creating incentives to conserve and sustainably use genetic resources, and therefore enhance the contribution of biodiversity to development and human well-being.

It’s been almost a decade since the former Botswana President Ian Khama signed the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS in Botswana; however its implementation is yet to manifest.

According to Dr Bareetseng, sharing this course with the students was highly imperative, “SADC need to have a common understanding of what the Nagoya Protocol seeks to achieve and what a better way to start this conversation with the next generation of scientists who will influence the development of frameworks and processes for implementation at their country’s level.” 

BIUST Faculty of Sciences lecture, Dr Kebaneilwe Lebani said workshops of this nature are beneficial to students because they are able to give them the opportunity to visualise the classroom teachings.

“What was special about this workshop is that it has managed to reinforce the theoretical concepts that we teach in the classrooms since we don’t have the capacity to run practicals that show everything from upstream, to downstream. It has made them to appreciate the scale.” 

While, an enthusiastic (student) Yengemadzo Tapiwa Headlon’s key takeaway from the workshop was learning how to operate a bioreactor. “I can confidently operate a bioreactor and control the fermentation process,” she said.