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Genomics Aotearoa Training

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posted on 10.03.2020, 03:47 by Ngonidzashe Faya
A decrease in sequencing cost has seen a large amount of sequence data being generated in the last few years, leading to a paradigm shift from sequencing data generation to data analysis. Despite the ease of data generation, the same cannot be said for data analysis mainly due to fewer researchers with the bioinformatics skills necessary to analyze these datasets. Moreover, most data analysis tools are developed for use with the Linux command line and require use of high-performance computers, therefore there is need for hands-on data analysis training. Empowering researchers through hands-on training courses is the key to improve knowledge and understanding of bioinformatics approaches thereby easing the skills shortage.

Genomics Aotearoa (GA) is a collaborative platform established to ensure that New Zealand is internationally participating and leading in the fields of genomics and bioinformatics. One of GA’s projects which is critical to genomics research is bioinformatics capability where bioinformatics tools and strategies needed to analyze information are provided. The bioinformatics capability project aims to address the increasing local demand for data analysis methods as well as training. The concept is: develop material/pipelines that can be accessed by everyone and travel to offer hand-on bioinformatics workshop. Post-doctoral researchers with strong bioinformatics background have been brought on board to develop open-source and reusable data analysis material and pipelines to benefit the genomics research community. At this stage, development of introductory, intermediate and advanced bioinformatics training material for genomics researchers is underway. Together with our partner, NeSI, coordination and delivery of data science and bioinformatics training workshops has already begun around the country seeing just above 250 researchers trained. Basically, based on the expressions of interest, we managed a supply/demand of ~66% with factors such as instructors and room availability contributing significantly to lowering this figure. In 2020, we are coming up with strategies to improve our demand/supply. NeSI platforms and it’s virtual machines were instrumental in hosting the training workshops which allows trainees to expand their skill set from introductory to advanced levels with a focus on how to use HPCs for their research.

Ngoni is the Genomics Aotearoa’s Training Coordinator, tasked with supporting and building capacity and capability in bioinformatics for New Zealand. Based at the University of Otago, he is working with Genomics Aotearoa partners across New Zealand to develop resources and technologies that provide international level training for genomics and bioinformatics. The aim is to give genetics researchers the training opportunities they need to analyse their own data sets, as well as facilitating the NeSI computing platforms and infrastructure required in their projects.

Dini is an Applications Support Specialist at NeSI with a particular interest use of High performance computing for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. He joined NeSI following a decade of research experience gained in the field of Cancer Genetics, Chemical Genetics , Immunolgy and Bioinformatics.


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