by Lordom Grecia (Class 2021)
On Saturday, 27 January 2018, the UP Physician-Scientists’ Association (UP PSA) held their Biological Models Workshop in UP Manila. This is the third iteration of the event that was launched just this academic year.
One hundred and forty-one students and professionals attended the workshop, coming from all over the Metro and even as far as Bulacan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Nueva Ecija, to learn about biological models and their use in research settings, as well as getting hands-on skills training in handling laboratory animals.
Participants had the option of attending either the morning or the afternoon sessions. Each session began with an hour-long plenary at Calderon Hall, where Paul Mark B. Medina, Ph.D., Associate Professor of the UP College of Medicine, discussed the importance and relevance of using biological models for research, particularly in the field of biomedical sciences. Special emphasis was given to the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, and the lab mouse Mus musculus, as these were the featured biological models for the workshop.
After the plenary, participants were divided into three breakout groups and proceeded to Paz Mendoza Building, where they gained firsthand experience on working with C. elegans, Drosophila, and Mus musculus.
Booklets containing protocols and techniques for handling these organisms were distributed to participants for use as reference material.
UP PSA members and officers facilitated the workshops, and the groups rotated every hour to give all participants equal opportunity to learn about the three featured biological models.
In photos: parallel sessions on the fruit fly (top), lab mouse (middle), and C. elegans (bottom).
UP PSA Secretary-General Rafael Manalo (UPCM 2022) facilitated the C. elegans station, teaching rearing and maintenance techniques as well as some mechanosensation assays, and sharing tips for removing contaminants from culture media.
The Drosophila station was led by Joanne Tan (UPCM 2020) and UP PSA’s Vice President for Externals, Ourlad Tantengco (UPCM 2020). They taught basic rearing and maintenance techniques, sex determination, and several behavioral assays, with practical tips for anesthesizing flies.
Federico de Jesus (UPCM 2020) and UP PSA’s President, Eric Ornos (UPCM 2020), conducted the lab mouse station. They discussed the basics of rearing and maintaining lab mice, and taught the participants how to handle and restrain the mice, how to perform an oral gavage, and how to perform an intraperitoneal injection.
At the end of the day, The Biological Models Workshops conducted by UP PSA was a success. The high number of participants in all three workshops a resurgence of interest in research in the country, particularly using biological models. UP PSA intends to go even further by bringing these workshops to the provinces. The organization hopes more endeavors like these workshops can help make research more accessible to those who are interested, and close the gap between basic science and the people.
Photos courtesy of Lads Tantengco. Special thanks to Jeremiah Reyes for the details in this article.