A Training Course on the Fundamentals of Bioinformatics at the Faculty of Pharmacy
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Under the auspices of the President of Al-Andalus University, Prof Dr Mohammed A’amer Al-Mardini; the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Dr Manhal Youssef; and Dr Manal Darwish, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy for Scientific Affairs, and in cooperation with the Atomic Energy Commission and the Branch of National Union of Syrian Students at Al Andalus University, a theoretical and practical training course on the fundamentals of bioinformatics was held between 20th and 24th May, 2022.
The course aimed at introducing the importance of bioinformatics, i.e., the application of IT, software algorithms, and the science of database development, in managing various types of biological information, scientific references, and statistical biological data with the aim of facilitating scientific research and accelerate its pace.
The course was organized and presented by: Dr Abdul Qader Abbadi and Dr Aya Tawer from the Atomic Energy Commission; Dr Karam Qassas and Dr Sally Al-Mou'allem from the Faculty of Pharmacy; and Dr Aisha Al-Jaghsi from the Faculty of Science, Damascus University.
The course included theoretical lectures and practical exercises as follows.
In day 1, students were introduced to the concepts of bioinformatics and the most important biological databases and how to search through them.
In day 2, the techniques of detecting genetic variations and methods of next-generation sequencing of nucleic acids were discussed. The students used Geneious software to design primers and interpret the results of sequencing.
Day 3 focused on proteomics and its applications in drug design, as well as characterizing protein structure and predicting its 3D shape based on Geneious software and some dedicated websites.
Day 4 was dedicated to biostatistics and how to display biological data. Students also learned how to input, graphically represent, and analyze data using the famous Graphpad Prism9 software.
Day 5 was devoted to scientific publishing and reference archiving as the following were discussed: Academic writing, publication in peer-reviewed journals, the most important databases for scientific publishing, and how to use EndNote20 software to organize references and include them within the research text.
The students of the Faculty of Pharmacy participating in the course have shown excellent interaction with the scientific and practical content of the course. This was mainly due to its importance, which they felt will be reflected on their future scientific research, especially during preparations for their graduation projects and postgraduate theses.