ADDIS ABABA - February 01, 2024 (FSNRD) - A six-day training on Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS), which is part of the Periodic Table of Food Initiative (PTFI) project, was organized here a few days ago at the premises of the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), a PTFI Center of Excellence in Africa.
The theoretical and practical training that lasted for a week aimed at familiarizing trainees with ionomics techniques. Following the training, the experts had to demonstrate their skills and knowledge to “onboard the PTFI ionomics platform” at the Center of Excellence (CoE) and analyze different indigenous food crops.
Opening the training, the Director of Food Science and Nutrition Research Directorate (FSNRD) with EPHI, Dr. Masresha Tessema, said that the award of the Center of Excellence bestowed on EPHI at the international level has brought about golden opportunities for researchers and other experts who have been engaged in the field of food and nutrition. “We received this award for the meritorious work we, as an institution, have accomplished. The opportunities we have acquired are the result of our hard work. The training you are receiving here is the result of this progress,” the director said.
Dr. Masresha said that EPHI is a renowned institution in the history of Nutrition in Ethiopia. “When it is the issue of nutrition at the national level, we are in the front yard. We have been playing invaluable roles in bringing evidence to decision makers,” he said.
Masresha further stated that the training being given by the institution is part of the initiative taken by EPHI to build the capacity of professionals. “It will enable you to become experts in your respective engagements. Use it appropriately and upgrade your capacity,” Dr. Masresha said.
The Center of Excellence Coordinator, Dr. Endale Amare, briefly presented the vision and mission of the PTFI initiative. According to Dr. Endale, the PTFI mission is to map the biomolecular composition of the world’s food supply and edible biodiversity as a global public good. To successfully execute this mission, PTFI identified nine centers of excellence globally on a competitive basis. Endale emphasized that PTFI is working towards developing standardized protocols, tools, and data sharing platforms to make them accessible to users.
PTFI is also working to empower scientists, practitioners, educators, and policymakers to apply robust food and health data to inform evidence-based solutions that support people and the planet. In order to realize this objective, the Good Food Fellowship Program (EDU) was established to offer accessible state-of-the-art educational resources in Food, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Health (FANH) for diverse learners across the world. With this fellowship program, EPHI will support six fellows, according to Dr. Endale.
Dr. Endale mentioned that the American Heart Association (AHA) and Bioversity International CIAT are serving as a secretariat for the PTFI initiative. The secretariat will primarily provide strategic and operational project management functions, facilitating a multi-stakeholder partnership. It will also support the Funders Consortium Board in developing and implementing strategic plans and priorities. It will lead strategic engagements and communication strategies, positioning PTFI as a truly global, diverse, multi-sectoral, and culturally/geographically representative group of collaborators, partners, and stakeholders.
Briefing about the training, the coordinator, Dr. Demeke Teklu, who coordinates the training, said that it was a significant step forward in familiarizing trainees with ionomics, one of the PTFI OMICS techniques. “The training is part of the PTFI project to be able to help in onboarding the omics techniques successfully,” Demeke said.
Dr. Demeke said that as the Center of Excellence, EPHI is duty-bound to organize different capacity building trainings for its employees and other experts from different stakeholders engaged in the field.
Twenty-seven experts drawn from Addis Ababa Science and Technology University (Food EDU fellow and a supervisor), the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (two Food EDU fellows and a supervisor), EPHI (two Food EDU fellows, researchers and laboratory experts), Ethiopian Food and Drug Authority (Food EDU fellow and laboratory personnel) were in attendance at the training. (FSNRD).