News

Hybrid training in bioinformatics a hit

EMBL-ABR's hybrid training model to help deliver bioinformatics skills nationwide, including at QCIF-hosted venues in Queensland, has proven successful and will continue next year.

Nationwide workshops are held simultaneously with an expert trainer delivering a presentation online, with local, trained facilitators on hand to help participants at venues across Australia with the practical part of the workshop.
 
EMBL-ABR, in a post on its website, said this training method helps overcome the problem of having widely dispersed researchers with urgent needs for bioinformatics skills, and allows regional universities, with only a few participants, to have direct access to training expertise equal to that of the larger universities. 
 
As EMBL-ABR nodes, QCIF and Melbourne Bioinformatics staff have worked together to refine the national training program, largely to introduce Galaxy Australia to a new audience of researchers.
 
The first workshop was held on 22 August this year, with four workshops to follow, including two this month—a workshop on the UCSC Genome Browser and a Galaxy Australia workshop on metagenomics.
 
Each time, QCIF has hosted the workshops at the University of Queensland, and occasionally at the University of Southern Queensland. James Cook University has hosted the workshops at its Townsville campus, and sometimes also at its Cairns campus.
 
The UCSC Genome Browser workshop on Thursday, 8 November was unique with two webinars held as pre-requisite training before the hands-on workshop.
 
The first webinar, an overview of the Browser, had an audience of 97; the second, involving the Browser’s advanced features, 68, and 26 people took part nationwide in the advanced practical workshop—seven at UQ and four at JCU Townsville.
 
QFAB’s Dr Dominique Gorse, Thom Cuddihy and Mike Thang, and QUT genome assembly and bioinformatics PhD student Zac Stewart, facilitated UQ’s workshop, while JCU’s helper was Natalia Andrade Rodriguez.
 
Dr Robert Kuhn, Associate Director of the UCSC Genome Browser, led the workshop from his US base.
 
The AGTA Small Grants Scheme supported the UCSC Genome Browser training sessions.
 
Recordings of the EMBL-ABR training events, presentations, tutorials and online discussion boards are all freely available for use after the event has concluded.
 
Next year’s topics for the training series have yet to be announced. Those interested are advised to either subscribe to EMBL-ABR’s e-newsletter to be kept informed of upcoming workshops, or check EMBL-ABR’s events webpage regularly.