Every year, the European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC) provides and hosts a four day course, covering essential techniques and best practices for the entire cell culture workflow.
‘ECACC Fundamentals of Cell Culture: Key Principles and Practice’ aims to deliver a balance of theory and practice, from culture initiation from frozen vials, to novel 3D cell culture strategies. It is delivered by a team of PHE cell culture experts and regular invited lecturers.
Spaces are still available for the next ECACC Fundamentals of Cell Culture training course, which will be held 3rd-6th March 2020 (for further details and book to a place click here).
Following last October’s successful Fundamentals course, we spoke to two delegates (pictured above) about their experiences on the course, what they learnt, and how they can apply their acquired knowledge to future research.
Our two delegates were:
• Tina Schrader, University of Exeter, Senior Research Technician
• Natasha Bayuss, Kalvista Pharmaceuticals, Senior Scientist
1. When did you undertake this course and why did you decide to take it?
“To refresh my knowledge and learn more about the new developments e.g. especially 3D cultures.”
“For my own personal development. My organisation is keen on ensuring that staff have robust knowledge on cell culture hence they sent me to this course.”
2. Did the course meet your expectations?
“Yes it did, and it affirmed the techniques that I currently use and I can now confidently teach my students and colleagues. I have also learnt about new techniques and developments, like the 3D cultures.”
“The course exceeded my expectations, it was really good quality. I particularly liked the mycoplasma testing lecture and practical – I gained a better understanding of contamination. They gave me cell culture tips that are often overlooked.”
3. How did you find the lectures and practical sessions?
“The lectures were well structured - starting with the basics of cell culture on day one then progressing to the complex cell culture techniques on the third day. The groups were small (12) hence there was good interaction.”
“The course was well thought through with a good balance of lectures and practical. Working in pairs in the lab meant that everyone got a chance to learn and actually do the practical.”
4. Was there any particular part of the course you felt stood out?
“The practical on dissecting a chick embryo was particularly nice, growing the explants observing it under the microscope.”
“I enjoyed the contamination lecture and practical, as well as learning the importance of authentication.”
5. What are the main things you learnt from the course and how do you feel you benefited from this training?
“I refreshed my memory on aspects like subculturing, counting, and infection that can take place and how you determine it. What I really, really enjoyed were the lectures about the 3D cell culture because this is something I am interested in and would like to implement it in my future research.Also, to see that everything I have done in cell culture so far is really the gold standard of where it should be.”
“One of the things that was really beneficial to me was the work on contamination and the things which you do not want to see in your samples, because I have never physically seen them before and now I actually know what I am looking for. It made me realise it is so useful to spend a bit more time looking down that microscope at my cells, as well as all round good practice. It really enthused me.
6. Was the training relevant to your needs?
“I would say it was very relevant because my expertise lies in the cell culture field and it is also important for my personal development to go on courses to see if there are new changes or outcomes in place that I should know of.”
“I got more from it than I expected. My role isn’t largely tissue-based anymore however I wish I had taken this course when it was, as I got so much from it.”
7. Would you recommend the course to your colleagues and why?
“I would definitely recommend it, particularly as I am a senior technician in the lab and the technicians are doing the technical support, providing the results that the research is funded for. It is never too late, despite all the years you may have already been working, to go on training courses like this, with a mix of lectures and practicals to see what good practice looks like. It does not matter if you have just started as a technician or are a bit more advanced, I definitely would recommend it.”
“Definitely. Our company typically routinely send people on it so there are two of us on this October course at the moment. I think a lot of people presume knowledge but there is only so much that can be taught and perhaps you don’t get across the gravity of the situation. When it is spelt out in the lectures here it is much clearer. Also different people take different things from the course depending on what they need.”
For further details and register your place on the ECACC Fundamentals of Cell Culture course click here).
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