Holistic Course Design: proposals for a short course on biosafety

Perumal, Dhayaneethie (2006) Holistic Course Design: proposals for a short course on biosafety. Investigations in university teaching and learning, 4 (1). pp. 54-61. ISSN 1740-5106


New infectious diseases continue to emerge and evolve while pathogens that cause known infections but whose incidence has increased significantly over the past three decades are ‘re-emerging’ (NIAID 2004) and since 1973, more than 36 new infectious diseases have been identified. Strategies to control them calls for targeted research and training as well as enhancing in-country research capacity. In order to develop scientific research and expertise, especially in developing countries, training for working in specialised facilities with these infectious agents is crucial. Furthermore, several countries have embarked on international initiatives to strengthen emergency preparedness in response to terrorist activities (‘bio-terrorism’) by linking academic expertise to state and local health agency needs. These activities have in common the requirement for an increase in the number of people experienced and working in the field of ‘biosafety’. This is one of the most recently-developed safety disciplines, the intention of which is to eliminate or prevent the risks related to the use of “biological agents” (Caucheteux and Mathot, 2005) ...

The most important element of containment is strict adherence to standard microbial practices and techniques and persons working with infectious agents or potentially infected material must be made aware of the potential hazards and be trained to the high level of proficiency required to handle such material safely. Yet, despite the urgent need for this kind of knowledge transfer and skill development, there was, at the time (the Summer of 2006) no existing provision within the UK. However, LondonMet, with its recently-commissioned, state-of-the-art Science Centre is in an ideal position to offer both the specialised CL3 facilities and staff skilled in their use in the required context. The short course described here was developed in the main as a response to the clear and demonstrated need but also as a way of generating national and international transfers of knowledge in the field and establishing LondonMet’s credentials in this area of work.

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