EU-CONEXUS students in the Minor Course recently had an exciting physical mobility experience at AUA
The EU-CONEXUS Minor Course in “Biotechnology and Nanobiotechnology of Marine Bioactive Molecules”, offered by the Agricultural University of Athens (AUA), provided students from the Agricultural University of Athens and the Catholic University of Valencia with a unique opportunity to engage in practical courses at AUA from May 8th to 12th, 2023. These courses specifically aimed to offer hands-on experience in fundamental antimicrobial and cytotoxicity methods for evaluating microalgae extracts and exploring their potential applications.
During their time at AUA, the students gained hands-on expertise in cultivating and observing microalgae under a fluorescence microscope, and they also had the opportunity to visit AUA’s industrial scale photobioreactor. They successfully generated microalgae extracts and conducted tests to evaluate their bioactivity in cell and microbial cultures. Additionally, they performed fundamental molecular biology methods, including DNA extraction, PCR reactions, and electrophoresis. Taking their research further, the students incubated colon cancer cells with different concentrations of the extract and meticulously assessed their viability using the MTT assay, uncovering potential therapeutic applications. Furthermore, they explored diverse methodologies to evaluate the antimicrobial activity of the microalgae extracts, utilizing techniques such as the disk diffusion test and photometry for precise strain growth assessment. The program also encompassed a comprehensive bioinformatics analysis, incorporating sequence annotation, phylogenetic analysis, and protein structure analysis, which significantly enhanced the students’ skills in data interpretation and analysis, thereby preparing them for future research endeavors in the captivating field of marine bioactive molecules.
Overall, this physical mobility delivered a valuable and rewarding experience for students. It went beyond expanding their academic knowledge, as it facilitated connections within the European University Alliance network paving the way to exciting educational opportunities and exploration in various disciplines.