This is the first event as part of a wider collaboration between TGAC and Bioplatforms Australia together with their Australian partner CSIRO.
The ‘Train the Trainer’ session enabled bioinformaticians engaged in training to develop their training skills in particular, in designing and delivering de novo assembly training. A topic identified as one of the key training needs for Australia, given the breadth of species that the collaborative groups are researching.
De novo allows genome analysis without previous DNA material as a reference using short reads of DNA to assemble longer, more complex, reads to construct the whole genome. The processes involved in de novo assembly, and crucially steps in quality assessment of DNA assemblies, are essential for researchers studying non-model organisms i.e. non-human species, the study of which can provide further insight into unique biological traits.
Designed and delivered by Head of the 361⁰ Division at TGAC, Dr Vicky Schneider, the course allowed delegates to develop their own training style and course materials for a modular approach in training researchers across Australia who aim to study non-model organisms. As well as shaping the research carried out by the delegates, the workshop impacted upon their delivery of key skills to colleagues and further afield, including a comprehensive training materials library.
Dr Schneider, said: “I am thrilled to launch the TGAC ‘Train the Trainer’ programme which will bring sustainability and long-term impact of our efforts in bioinformatics training and related areas. I have been involved previously with the design and launch of the next-generation sequencing (NGS) train the trainer and roll-out of the courses across Australia.”
“It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to engage in discussions about improving training for genome assembly. I hope the subsequent training courses in Australia will enable users with biological and computational background alike to have a deeper understanding of the de novo method, and ultimately conduct better genomic research, said Bernardo Clavijo, Algorithmic Development Project Leader at TGAC. “I am looking forward to continuing this effort in Australia when I visit to help with the first round of training later this year.”
Dr Emily Angiolini, Scientific Training and Education Team Manager at TGAC, said: “The impact of this course is far reaching, given that we had representatives from Australian research centres with diverse research interests but one commonality – non-model organisms – we have the opportunity to cascade these skills to enable an entire continent to carry out de novo assembly with further application of this training model to groups of trainers across the UK, Europe and beyond.”
“Australia has a unique and diverse flora and fauna, and a unique opportunity to describe this resource with modern genomics. But to do this we need to strengthen bioinformatics literacy and capacity for Australian researchers,” said Andrew Gilbert, General Manager of Bioplatforms Australia. Developing the skills of our trainers and imparting this knowledge to the local research community is an essential and integral part of our program and we look forward to continue our collaboration with TGAC.
Dr Annette McGrath, Bioinformatics Core Leader at CSIRO, added: “This was a really fantastic opportunity for our researchers to learn more about best practices in developing and delivering training courses to professional scientists. The lessons learnt during this programme, and which will be applied during the subsequent roll-out of the courses in Australia, will help our researchers to successfully impart their de novo genome assembly knowledge, to enhance bioinformatics capability in Australia."