University of Pretoria Genomics Laboratory Hosts Successful Introduction to qPCR Workshop.

The University of Pretoria Genomics Laboratory (UPGL), in the Faculty of Natural and
Agricultural Sciences, hosted a successful introductory workshop on quantitative
Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) from March 25-26, 2024. This event, held at UP’s Bio-
Laboratories, was made possible with the support of DIstributed PLatform in OMICS
(DIPLOMICS) and the African Centre for Gene Technologies (ACGT). Renowned experts
from Whitehead Scientific presented the course, which covered various aspects of qPCR,
from experimental design to result interpretation, over the span of two days.

Workshop Overview

The UPGL, known for its high-throughput sequencing and coordinated molecular biology
capabilities, is dedicated to advancing genetic and genomic technologies. The laboratory
also emphasizes training in the latter, laboratory automation systems, data analysis, and
related information management tools. This particular workshop aimed to equip students
and staff with essential qPCR techniques, focusing specifically on SYBR green.

The two-day program included:

  • Introduction to PCR and qPCR: Understanding the basics and differences between
    PCR and qPCR.
  • Primer Design using the IDT Portal: Learning how to design primers effectively.
  • Planning a qPCR Experiment: Setting up a qPCR workspace for optimal results.
  • qPCR Application Examples: Real-world applications and data analysis techniques.
  • Basic Pipetting Skills: Ensuring accuracy and precision in pipetting.
  • Overview of the qPCR Protocol: Detailed walk-through of the qPCR process.
  • Introduction to qPCR Instrument Software: Familiarization with the software used in
  • Setting up qPCR Reactions: Practical setup and execution of qPCR protocols.
  • Analysing and Interpreting qPCR Run Data: Methods for accurate data analysis and

Participants and Attendance
The course attracted numerous staff and students from various institutions, including
Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDIs). The workshop attracted 23 participants from
various institutions, including:

  • University of Venda
  • University of Limpopo
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • University of Johannesburg
  • University of South Africa
  • Tshwane University of Technology
  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.


Picture 1: Workshop participants receiving in-depth knowledge on setting up and analysing
qPCR experiments, enhancing their practical skills.



Picture 2: Hands-on learning: Participants follow along with the practical demonstrations
during the qPCR training.

These participants, selected based on their need for skills development and their potential to
benefit from enhanced qPCR capabilities, included many from HDI’s, ensuring a diverse and
inclusive learning environment that supports equitable access to advanced genomic

Participant Feedback: Experiences and suggestions for improvement

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants were invited to share their thoughts on the
training. The feedback highlighted a range of positive experiences as well as constructive
suggestions for future improvements.

“The introductory lectures were well-structured and covered essential aspects of qPCR, making complex concepts easier to understand.”

“This was a basic workshop, yet I learned different types of PCR and qPCR. I believe
this is the knowledge I have been looking for and more. I can confidently say I know how to perform qPCR. It was very informative.”

“I appreciated the detail and effort that went into the workshop. The presenters were knowledgeable and answered questions thoroughly.”

In the spirit of continuous improvement, the participants also shared their constructive
feedback aimed at enhancing the quality and effectiveness of future workshops. These
improvement areas were noted and will be taken into consideration when organizing future

The feedback underscored several significant benefits and takeaways from the workshop,
highlighting both the immediate impact on participants and the long-term value for their
respective institutions/colleagues/fellow-students.

The feedback underscored several significant benefits and takeaways from the workshop,
highlighting both the immediate impact on participants and the long-term value for their
respective institutions/colleagues/fellow-students.

Key Takeaways

The workshop provided several significant benefits:

  • Learning and capacity building: created an enriching environment for participants.
  • Research collaborations: fostered opportunities for collaborative research efforts.
  • Enhanced access to -omics technology: empowered participants to enhance access
    to -omics technologies at their institutions.
  • Equitable access for HDIs: contributed to equitable access to -omics infrastructure
    and technology for HDI’s.


Special thanks to the University of Pretoria Genomics Laboratory, DIPLOMICS, Whitehead
Scientific, the ACGT, and the participants from various universities for making this workshop
a tremendous success.