Accepted Posters

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Category D - 'Epigenetics'

D1 - Impact and sustainability of hands-on training in the analysis of next-generation sequencing data
  • Gabriella Rustici, EMBL-EBI, United Kingdom

Short Abstract: Next-generation sequencing technologies are widely used in the field of functional genomics and applied in an increasing number of applications. For many 'wet lab' scientists, the analysis of the large amount of data generated by such technologies is a major bottleneck that can only be overcome through very specialized training in advanced data analysis methodologies and the use of dedicated bioinformatics software tools.
Here we will discuss the hands-on training activities in the analysis of high-throughput sequencing data that we have developed at the European Bioinformatics Institute. We will present a snapshot of the audience that we have trained over the last five years, discuss the challenges that we have faced in developing training solutions that fit the needs of this very specialized user community and the best practices that we have embraced to tackle such challenges. We will also provide evidence of the impact such training has had on the research community and discuss our recipe for sustainability.

D2 - Measuring the Impact of Continuing Education Programs
  • Michelle Brazas, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Canada

Short Abstract: has been hosting continuing education programs in introductory and advanced bioinformatics topics in Canada since 1999, and has trained more than 1,700 participants. These workshops have been adapted over the years to keep pace with both advances in science, as well as the changing landscape in available learning modalities and the bioinformatics training needs of our audience. Post-workshop surveys have been a mandatory component of each workshop, and are used to ensure appropriate adjustments are made to workshops to maximize learning. The long-term impact of bioinformatics continuing education training, however, has not been explored by recently initiated a look back on the impact its workshops have had on the career trajectories, research outcomes, publications, and collaborations of its 1700+ participants. Using an anonymous online survey, aimed to capture at least 20% of its participant population. Here we share our survey results and explore how continuing education programs in bioinformatics can be improved to better support long-term skill retention and research impact.

D3 - Combining different learning techniques: how e-learning improves classical face-to-face training
  • Diana Marek, SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Switzerland

Short Abstract: The SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics provides and coordinates training on various bioinformatics-related domains. Each year, SIB with its partner institutions offers over 30 block-courses and one-day workshops (face-to-face format) on key bioinformatics topics, such as programming, large-scale data analysis, statistics, system modelling and high performance computing (HPC). Only last year, our courses gathered over 750 participants.

SIB also offers training lessons accessible to a larger community, through e-learning modules focusing on specific topics, for instance "Unix Fundamentals" and "Phylogenetics of animal viral pathogens" (co-developed with the FAO and IAEA).
Such modules take advantages of both in house technology and know-how and can be developed and updated in a reasonable timeframe. Furthermore, they can be easily accessible through Internet, or distributed on media devices for offline usage.

Our current experience shows the combination of e-learning with face-to-face courses to be very successful. Indeed, completion of e-learning modules prior to classical courses can be used to assess the participants' knowledge level, thus enabling teachers to better adapt the course content and to possibly modify the ratio between practical exercises and lectures.
For instance, we have combined our "UNIX Fundamentals" e-learning module with our "High Performance Computing (HPC) for Life Scientists" face-to-face course. Participants are asked to complete the e-learning module before the course and are then evaluated with a short written test.

D4 - Bioinformatics training: a global survey of training needs (GOBLET consortium)
  • Maria Schneider, The Genome Analysis Centre, United Kingdom

Short Abstract: The need for bioinformatics training is fast outstripping the pace of global training provision. The problem isn’t just affecting students – many postdoctoral researchers, research associates and even PIs/Group Leaders are discovering that they lack the skills necessary to analyse and interpret their data effectively. The situation has been exacerbated by the closure of bioinformatics degree programmes, leaving the educational gaps to be filled with a host of short, ad hoc, geographically dispersed training courses.
The issues aren’t just anecdotal. In 2013, the Society for Experimental Biology (SEB), in association with members of GOBLET (Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education & Training –, surveyed bioinformatics training needs amongst life scientists. From >200 responses, the results showed that 76% considered themselves to be self-taught, or relied on colleagues to help them use bioinformatics tools and resources; 67% felt that data analysis and interpretation was the area in which training was most needed; 74% suggested that extra training should be delivered via hands-on workshops (57% suggesting a preference for e-learning).
Given these findings, and results from related surveys (e.g., from ELIXIR-UK), we wanted to assess the scale of the problem by casting the net wider, to gain a more global perspective on current bioinformatics training needs. Accordingly, we re-launched the SEB survey, driving it out to more networks/societies worldwide, but keeping the questions the same so that results from last year can be more readily compared. This poster presents an analysis of the full results from the global survey.

D5 - Bioinformatics Training @ TGAC: a year retrospective, training needs and coding for life scientists
  • Maria Schneider, The Genome Analysis Centre, United Kingdom

Short Abstract: The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) has launched its Scientific Training Programme in 2013 with activities geared to offer high quality training to current and the next generation of life scientists in genome analysis, bioinformatics and more. The training opportunities herein defined as for postgraduate level aim to help implement current and future methods and infrastructures in life science research and development within research and discovery. Here we present the structure of the programme and an overview of the feedback and evaluations for our first year. We discussed the aspects and highlights about what worked well as well as the pitfalls and changes we'll be incorporating and have started to implement in our 2014 training activities. We also share the results from an extensive collection of training needs (>500 individuals) we have been gathering from March 2013, based on face-to-face chats and the information on training needs collected in a consistent form. We also will share what the views of bench life scientists and bioinformaticians are with regards the need of bench scientists to learning (or not) the command line. We believe all this information will be useful to others involved in bioinformatics training as well as inspire discussions and thinking on collaborative solutions and adoption of what works well.

D6 - The EMBL-EBI User Training Working Group
  • Sarah Morgan, EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute, United Kingdom

Short Abstract: EMBL-EBI’s training programme provides a wide range of both on and off-line learning opportunities that encompass the spectrum of molecular biology data. Our training covers both the data resources and services offered by the institute and specific areas of biological data analysis.

External training at the EMBL-EBI is co-ordinated by the training team, but the Institute’s resource experts take responsibility for co-ordination of training within their own areas. Maintaining consistency across a programme that involves several teams in a large and complex organisation can pose challenges. Our solution was to set up an internal User Training Working Group (UTWG), which allows the resource experts to meet up regularly, share ideas and maintain regular contact with each other and the training team.

The UTWG plays a key role in the successful delivery of our training programme. It ensures appropriate trainers are available for all aspects of training and supports the development of training skills for both new and existing staff. Additionally, new areas for training provision are discussed, thus enabling the programme as a whole to evolve and improve. The group has also played an important role in sharing best practise and training tips across the organisation, helping ensure the quality of the training delivered across Europe and beyond.

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