Novel Phage isolated in Tanzania

December 3, 2019

Last month we successfully delivered our 4th Phage Workshop in Africa, this one delivered in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Through this 2-week laboratory training workshop we trained another cohort of 25 scientists how to isolate and begin to develop phages that can be used to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

 

And we did something new in this workshop! We successfully used a portable technology that can sequence phage DNA, even in resource-limited countries such as Tanzania. As a result, the workshop participants were able to obtain the DNA sequence identities of the phages they isolated. Preliminary analyses indicate that there may be several entirely novel phages isolated during the workshop — a scientific achievement!

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A team of researchers from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda happily displaying their phage isolation

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Another group of phage scienctists together with Dr. Shawna McCallin (second from left), a new workshop instructor who joined us from Switzerland

Another aspect of this workshop was also noteworthy: 12 of the 25 participants were women. The participants were chosen through a competitive application process, and while there were no set criteria for the numbers of men and women selected, we were pleased to empower many women through this workshop, since they are often underrepresented in scientific communities.

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Slawomir Michniewski, a teaching intern who joined us from the UK, demonstrated how to load the MinION DNA sequencing device

Thank you to everyone who donated to help make this workshop a reality. We're currently making plans for future workshops in Southeast Asia and Africa — stay tuned for exciting updates about those!


With gratitude,
Tobi Nagel - President
Karen Erickson - Treasurer
James Lin - Secretary