It goes without saying that BioSciences is committed to providing a great service to customers. Each and every member of the team contributes to the overall success of the business and as such BioSciences continues to invest in our training and professional development to ensure that we are well equipped when meeting our customers. Nowhere is this more important than in science when you consider the rate of emerging technologies, applications and developments. With the tens of thousands of catalogue products in our portfolio, keeping abreast of all is no mean feat!

When you walk in to the BioSciences office, it’s a hive of activity - Someone is dealing with suppliers and managing finances, the service engineers are getting their schedules, distribution are collecting despatch notes, you hear orders of “oligos” and “BigDye” coming down the phoneline, and shipments of “thermal cyclers” and “Ion” are going out the door.... It’s a well-oiled machine.

But what are all these products, and how do scientists use them?

While you may think this would only concern members our sales team, and indeed they follow monthly training sessions, over the past few months I’ve been stealing the admin team away to the boardroom to run a series of internal training sessions. The aim of these interactive sessions was to work with the admin team, some of whom don’t have a science background, to give an understanding of the basics of these products, to shed some light on the power of cutting edge technologies, and to hear about their use in some example research and diagnostic settings.

We started with the basic structure of DNA and highlighted what our genetic “code” actually codes for. We explored the relationship between genes and proteins, proteins and our bodies, and how differences within these sequences can be so impactful. With that in mind, we set out to learn how scientists go about detecting and monitoring those changes and how they ultimately strive to determine what those changes mean.

Armed with a collection of PowerPoints, videos, graphics and the occasional Giant Microbe prop, I covered a range of topics - PCR, the molecular biologist’s photocopier, digital and real-time PCR, DNA sequencing, antibodies, ELISA, protein analysis, cell culturing, molecular probes.... to name a few! We covered the range of lab equipment needed, which BioSciences also supplies, and had a hands-on session with some pieces of instrumentation that I set up at the office.

In terms of relaying this new and incredibly interesting information to my colleagues for the first time, I think two topics in particular stood out for me. The first one was the use of next generation sequencing, particularly in the very real-life applications in our hospitals and what the information gained from these tests means for patients and their treatments. The second notable topic was explaining the power of forensic testing and what can actually be done using our Human Identification products, such as gaining genetic fingerprints to help solve crimes or to trace ancestry.

We marked the completion of the modules with a presentation of certificates of completion that are now hanging in the BioSciences offices.

Over the course of these training sessions, I enjoyed being able to not only explain some of my own research, but also the amazing work being done by our customers around Ireland. Sometimes when you’re in the thick of it, it can be easy to forget about the bigger picture. A name that was just a name on an order form is now the researcher that’s part of a ground-breaking Irish research team or is helping to gain the information needed by a clinician to decide on the best drug treatment for a patient. Suddenly, however minor it may be, everyone becomes a cog in the one machine.


Dr David O'Neill PhD

Field Application Specialist

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