Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Club (GEBC), a leading science club of the University of Dhaka arranged a day-long outreach program in Curzon Hall on March 16, 2018, in collaboration with Bangladesh Biology Olympiad. The program was inaugurated by the Chief guest Architect Yafes Osman, Honorable minister of the Science and Technology Ministry. The aim of organizing such an event was to highlight the importance of biotechnology in and for the society and to ignite in the young, brightest of minds the drive to delve deeper into this field.
The program started at 8:30 am. The students partaking in Biology Olympiad gathered in the field for registration. Interactive stalls were set up where posters on biotechnological breakthroughs were exhibited. There were posters regarding CRISPR-Cas9, PCR, GMO, Central Dogma of Life etc. Students of the department explained molecular mechanisms portrayed on posters to keen young learners. The eye-catching posters and intriguing stall drew students in numbers. They weren’t hesitant to ask questions; our amicable volunteers catered to all their scientific queries, both fundamental and advanced ones alike. To give the learners a hands-on idea, the volunteers introduced them to antimicrobial susceptibility disks, bacterial growth plates. GEB’s departmental magazine “Biogen” was also provided to the inquisitive learners. Four books, authored by three faculty members of the department of Generic Engineering and Biotechnology on the basics and applied topics of genetic engineering and biotechnology were also showcased there. The students were further encouraged by the presence of two faculty members of the department, Dr. Abu Ashfaqur Sajib and Dr. Mustak Ibn Ayub.
GEBC was given the stage at 9:30 am to conduct a visual demonstration on how to extract DNA from buccal swabs. Interested youngsters volunteered to provide their buccal cells to get their DNA extracted and analyzed. The audience wholeheartedly enjoyed the entire demonstration. It was a very interactive session and the most enjoyable segment. The people in the audience were very excited to see their own DNA extraction upfront. The event continued till 4 pm. The ceremony ended with the concluding remarks from the chief guest of the second session, Md. Anwar Hossain, Honorable Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Writer: Sanjana Siddique is a 4th year student of the Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Dhaka