DBT Workshop & Remaining Mysterious Specimens

I am ecstatic to see posts from new users stemming from the DBT workshop! My devices did not cooperate much with accessing the internet until I became stateside, yet despite the delay, I wanted to join in & share my record of / favorite moments from the event because I had such a magnificent time.

The foldscope team owes incredible thanks to all the volunteers, mentors, organizers, and especially all the participants for their inspiring enthusiasm and dedication.

The workshop.
April 16-17 marked the dates for a one of a kind orientation workshop in Delhi, organized by India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT), and hosted at the International Centre For Genetic Engineering And Biotechnology (ICGEB). Over 440 educators from across India gathered to become students once again, learning how to assemble and use their foldscopes.

Daily agenda.
To get a sense of the workshop, each day a group of around 220 educators arrived and were greeted by a morning session, where Jim spoke on the philosophy, origins, and future of foldscope.

After necessary coffee, tea, and refreshment breaks, it was time for assembly and exploration. This session was filled with exciting and insightful questions about potential applications for the freshly folded tools.  A teacher from Madurai plans a workshop for the prevention of dengue fever through mosquito identification. While others contemplate monitoring water quality… plant biology, demonstrating the importance of hygiene, the list goes on.

Explorations (& aforementioned mysterious creatures).
We scoured the surrounding ICGEB grounds for samples, gathering and then scattering them across tabletops for examination. Insects and plant specimens abound. Pond water proved to be particularly popular. Spider eggs were even carved off tree bark meticulously, with the mother spider along for the ride– and she was spared from any harm! (If the eggs have survived, I hope to see a post from their surrogate sometime! 🙂 )

Any thoughts on what the red worm’s species might be? It was collected from a sample of murky water pooling around a leaking pipe on the ICGEB grounds.

A nematode attempting its escape…

Some peculiar pond water creatures. Now, I haven’t done the due diligence and researched what these could be. Originally  I thought them to be algae, but their movements were deliberate and driven by what seemed to be a head. Found in the same sample as the nematode and worm above.

And finally, this video is less for the visuals, more for the audio. Manu, perhaps you’ll enjoy– in the beginning, you’ll hear Jim saying he feels like you after skipping lunch in favor of continuing to do demos haha.

Interactive sessions.
At the end of each day Jim, Dr. Dinakar Salunke, and (surprise visitor!) Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, listened & responded to questions and feedback from all the educators and students in attendance. As exceptional as our workshop was, these sessions felt like a particularly meaningful & motivating note to end things on.  Excited reflection on what’s been achieved, and honest discussion on the work that still needs to be done.

Very much looking forward to what comes next.
Hope to see the new users’ endeavors continue to light up the microcosmos.

Until next time,

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    Phenomenal to be able to see these through your eyes. What a fantastic energy at this place – love the video quality and data collected at the workshop. Thank you so much for being part of this workshop and inspiring the community @Rebecca. Your artistic view of the mocroscopic world enriches the experience for everyone.


  2. laksiyer says:

    This is a great Rebecca recap. Really enjoyed reading this. Video 1 is a polychaete worm, but species is unclear to me. Those pond green chains are cyanobacteria showing gliding movement.

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