Daily Archives: September 8, 2010

Postgraduate Course: Biosafety in Plant Biotechnology

biosafety in plant biotechnology course, photo courtesy of Ine Pertry

Guat Hong Teh during her studies for the postgraduate Biosafety course at Ghent University.

Congratulations Guat Hong!!  We received news this week that Guat Hong Teh, Legal Specialist for CAS-IP has passed the Postgraduate Biosafety in Plant Biotechnology course from Ghent University, Belgium with an average of a high distinction.  I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank DGIS whose financial support to CAS-IP allows us to sponsor our staff’s career development.

Guat Hong sent me the following write-up to share her experience.

 “Slightly less than a year ago, I enrolled in a postgraduate course in biosafety with the University of Ghent and UNIDO. Now that I have completed the distance learning course, I would like to share my experience with all of you. The course is run online via an internet tool called Moodle where you are able to access your lecture notes, participate in e-forums with your other classmates and professors, access a library with reading materials, and upload assignments. There are several modules that one has to go through and every one of them has a mandatory exam (either oral/written/both), assignment, and e-discussions. Before finishing off, one needs to write a 25-page dissertation on a crop of interest from one’s home country. For me, oil palm was the obvious target and I managed to put together a summary of the methodology and risk assessment process for genetically-modified high-oleic oil palm. If you are interested to read my dissertation, drop me a note.

Back to further details on the course… The syllabus starts with principles of genetics and applications of biotechnology in general before progressing to the basis of scientific risk assessment for biotech crops (food/feed safety and environmental safety). It then concludes with modules on regulatory requirements and risk communication.

The faculty at Ghent is made up of international experts based in Europe, both full-time and part-time. All in all, I would say that the course provides the student with a good overview and understanding of the risk assessment process for genetically-modified organisms. Although it can be daunting for students without a scientific background to study for the course, this can be overcome with lots of interest and hard work. I would highly recommend it to scientists or lawyers who have an interest in this area. If you’re keen to find out more, or if you’re already convinced to register for the new intake in Ghent, see the attached flyer. Dr. Ine Pertry, who is the course coordinator in Ghent, would be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have on the course. Write to her at ine.pertry@ugent.be