FCC-COMSTECH- ECOSF Joint International Workshop on “Genomics and Genome Editing" May 24-27, 2016

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Venue: Forman Christian College (A Chartered University), Lahore, Pakistan

An International Workshop on “Genomics and Genome Editing” was jointly organized by Forman Christian College (FCC) University Lahore, COMSTECH and  ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) on May 24 to 27, 2016 at FCC Lahore Pakistan. The workshop was focused on the technologies of Genomics, Metagenomics, Epigenomics, Genome Editing and their use and applications in biomedical and agricultural sciences. In all 30 participants joined the workshop, 22 were from ECO countries viz., Afghanistan (1), Azerbaijan (1), Iran (2), Kazakhstan (2) and Pakistan (16). Nine participants from other COMSTECH member countries also joined. ECOSF provided the air tickets of the participants of the ECO member states other than Pakistan.

The inaugural session of the workshop was opened by Dr. Joseph Jones, the Vice-Rector of FC College who welcomed the workshop participants as well as resource persons , who were from Pakistan, Iran, USA, Canada and Australia. Afterwards Prof. Dr. Kausar Abdulla Malik welcomed the participants and resource persons and introduced the workshop objectives to the participants. Dr. Saima Tanveer, Science Officer of ECOSF read the Message of the President ECOSF, wherein the President warmly welcomed the distinguished guests, speakers and participants of the International Workshop and said that the Foundation promotes cooperation and collaboration and was pleased to  be part of  this workshop . Dr. Soomro in his message while stressing upon  cooperation and collaboration said that, “that way, we pool the strengths of single institutions and persons and become much stronger to pursue the goals for a greater good of the people at large”.

Subsequently, the technical workshop began. The participants were given a deep insight into Genome assembly, Microbial consortia in the environment, Epigenetic modifications across the genome (Genotyping based on SNP’s), the prospects and possibilities in genome repair and developing resistance strategies against animal and plant infections.

The workshop was closed and certificates were awarded on 27 May, 2016.President ECOSF Professor Manzoor Hussain Soomro was the Chief Guest in the closing ceremony. Rector FC College Dr. James Tebbe and Dr. Kausar Abdulla Malik were also present at the occasion. Dr. Kausar A Malik presented workshop report and thanked the collaborators viz, COMSTECH, ECOSF and FCC management. He specially thanked Dr. Soomro for his presence.  Followed on Rector FC College Dr. James Tebbe congratulated the participants and acknowledged the workshop collaborators and organizing team for their support and effort for making the workshop successful.

Afterwards, President ECOSF presented the certificates and awards to the participants and resource person whereas Dr. James Tebbe Rector FCC and Dr. Kausar Malik were also present.

Later on Dr. Soomro in his speech while, highlighting  the importance of workshop topic and its objectives, said that the genomic revolution is creating new, gene-based technologies for the screening, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of both rare and common diseases. Recently, genomics have focused largely on common, complex diseases like cancer, heart diseases, neurodegenerative diseases as well as the less common inherited diseases. He added that there is also growing interest in the application of genomics to the management of infectious diseases and epidemics, which are among the top global public health burdens. Although these new directions raise hopes for disease prevention and treatment, they also bring challenging ethical issues to patients and healthcare providers.

President ECOSF shared with the audiences that the ECO Science Foundation  promotes and funds scientific, technological and innovative collaborative research among the S&T community of its 10 member states. He said that to strengthen the research base, the Foundation also promotes inquiry based science education (IBSE) approach at schools particularly for teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics- STEM subjects. The Foundation also supports conferences and workshops for capacity building like the present one and provides Travel Grants to scientists for participation in conferences in other countries of ECO region.

President ECOSF also apprised the audience that for knowledge-based societies, there is need to make science education and science careers attractive for young people to enable them to opt for a scientific careers; thus allowing scientifically literate citizens to actively participate all along their life to the socioeconomic development of their countries. Therefore, the concept of "inquiry " i.e. critical thinking and critical observation to nurture the understanding of scientific and technological innovations among the young children needs to be inculcated at primary and secondary school levels. He further added, since IBSE is a process in which not only facts are explained but where questions, problems and scenarios are presented to the people to solve issues. Therefore, IBSE is a step forward to ensure sustainable supply of young talent for linking advance research with economic development. It not only enhances research interest through improving knowledge levels of the young generation but also helpful in building a  science community at national as well as global level. Finally he congratulated the participants, Resource persons and FC College Management for making the workshop sucessful.

Dr. Soomro also thanked Professor Kausar Malik for his magnetic pull of the players and promoting teams and congratulated him as well as the FC College Management for successfully hosting the workshop and also the COMSTECH for supporting and nurturing the partnership.

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