Contributed by Akanni E.Olufemi, FILMS, MTECH, AIBMS (UK)
I recently had the great experience of being the awardee of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) PSEP scholarship. I am currently a biomedical Scientist in the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, College of Health Sciences (Haematology & Blood Transfusion Department) Osogbo. Nigeria. I am a Fellow of the Council of Medical Laboratory Science (FCMLS) Nigeria, an Associate of the Institute of Biomedical Science AIBMS (U.K) and I hold a Master of Technology Degree in Biotechnology.
I am a recipient of some special awards including: The Best All Round Student Award in Medical Laboratory Sciences in 1992 from the University College Hospital, Ibadan, a young Investigator's Award by the International SwissMedlab 2004 & Alps-Adria Congress, Lucerne, Switzerland and America Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Gallwas membership grant. I also presented a research paper at the Euromedlab 2003 Congress, Barcelona, Spain.
During my 3-month visit using the IFCC Professional Scientific Exchange programme (PSEP) Fellowship Award which I recently concluded at the Clinical Molecular Biology and Cytogenetics Laboratory, Diagnostica e Ricerca, San Raffaele Hospital, I interacted with several different laboratories such as: Clinical Molecular Biology and Cytogenetics laboratories as well as the Haematology & Central Blood Transfusion center and the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory of the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milano, Italy.
I was trained in various techniques such as the applications for testing of genetic and haematological diseases. The techniques included: DNA/RNA extraction and quantitation, Polymerase chain Reaction (PCR), Southern blotting, Agarose gel electrophoresis, Direct automatic sequencing, Fragments Analysis and Bone Marrow chimerisms. Other laboratory techniques to which I was exposed were fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH), Flow cytometry, molecular HLA typing as well as stem cell & Bone marrow collection, cryoprecipitation and transplantation.
AKANNI E.O. WITH PROF. FERRARI MAURIZIO
The PSEP provided me with an excellent opportunity to interact with my colleagues and researchers in diverse fields of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine for exchange of ideas, information, technology and knowledge. It was also a time to learn new research and diagnostic techniques and get exposure to state-of the-art facilities that were available at the laboratory of the Hospital San Raffaele.
The PSEP initiative of the IFCC is highly commendable as it facilitates the development of the participating scientist's career, which forward-looking scientists in member National Societies should be encouraged to exploit. I am extremely grateful to the IFCC for making this experience possible. I intend to teach others in my country some of the techniques that I have learned. This is an ideal programme for the developing countries to learn from the more developed countries.
Outside the teaching and laboratory activities, the opportunity of experiencing the hospitality and social life of the Milanese is another experience that I will always cherish. Sight seeing and tours to various parts of Milan, Venice etc were very interesting. The friendliness, kindness, hospitability and the helpful nature of the Italians will ever be fresh in my memory.
AKANNI E.O. WITH PROF. P. BONINI
It was also another exciting experience meeting and working with experts such as: Professor P. A Bonini (Director, Diagnostical e Ricerca), Professor Ferrari Maurizio (Director Clinical Molecular Biology & Cytogenetics), Dr Carrera Paola (Molecular diagnostics), Dr Malabarba Lucia of Centro Donazioni Sangue (Blood center), Dr Alessio Palini of Lab Citometria (flow cytometry), Dr Silvano Rossini (Centro Transfusionale) and their wonderful colleagues. Also, the IFCC office staff: Ms Lisa Ionescu, Ms Valeria Castorina and Ms Paola Bramati have been very helpful and wonderful.
I acknowledge the support of the entire staff of the host laboratories and the Medical systems S.p.A for their cooperation and contributions to the success of my programme. I also thank the Nigerian Association for Clinical Chemists (NACC) for supporting my application for the PSEP, and my employer Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria for allowing me the time to participate in this programme.