A new laboratory with the Department of Genetics in the Faculty of Biology of Sofia University will train students in genetic research. It will also provide the opportunity for training PhD and M.Sc. students. The training center has been established entirely by donations from Petar Mandjoukov Foundation.
According to the dean of the Faculty of Biology Prof. Stoyan Shishkov that illustrates the interest of business in improving the quality of education. “This will be another pearl in the crown of the Faculty of Biology”, Shishkov told the Bulgarian National Radio.
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the RHI sent a request for employing volunteer students to help with the PCR tests. Then it became clear that the students were very well trained theoretically but they lacked practical training, the head of the laboratory, Chief Assistant Dimitrina Georgieva explained. Then the idea emerged of buying one or two PCR equipment sets with donations from companies so that the training in applying molecular methods could be at an up-to-date level.
That led to supplying a whole laboratory with 18 equipment sets by Petar Mandjoukov Foundation. The lab itself has not been set up for PCR tests which are just a way of training students to cope in a real environment.
“PCR tests cannot be done in the laboratory – we are an educational facility, but the equipment for real-time polymerase chain reaction turns into a gold standard for detection and quantification of DNA and RNA in cells. That has become evident in the course of the pandemic. Our objective is to use the equipment in training students to do the tests themselves, to analyze the results and to interpret these results correctly “, Dimitrina Georgieva added.
There are other devices in the laboratory, too so that students can be trained to use different molecular and biological methods, Georgieva pointed out.
“We have the opportunity to work with isolated DNA, but as an educational establishment we are not allowed to receive the biological material directly. We obtain biological material which is not infected.”
There is nothing that puzzles virologists in terms of the biology of the current coronavirus, prof. Shishkov emphasized. He is personally amazed by its very rapid mutation.
“It is normal that when a new pathogen gets into a new population, crosses the species barrier and begins to transmit from human to human, it evolves in order to adapt in the best possible way to that organism, to the respective species, to the human race in this case. Its purpose is not to kill, but to spread freely and thus to realize itself,” the scientist commented.