Concepts in Evolutionary Studies Workshop – Roscoff, France

Biological network analyses have been recently shown to be a powerful tool in biological sciences, playing a crucial role in identifying such processes as horizontal gene transfer and biogeographic patterns. A five day workshop entitled Introduction the concepts and methods of networks in evolutionary studies ran from June 24-30, 2018 in Roscoff, France. The workshop featured leading mathematicians, computer scientists, and both eukaryotic and prokaryotic biologists to offer a comprehensive introduction to concepts of biological networks with a beautiful seaside view.

Kevin attended this workshop last month where he learned how to combine simple python scripts with cutting edge bioinformatics pipeline to construct and analyze different kinds of biological networks. It is anticipated that network analysis will be an important part of his current research project in characterizing the biogeographic distribution of known Vibrio cholerae strains and reconstructing the evolutionary history of the 7th pandemic lineage.

 Kevin enjoying the scenic seaside along with the other 2018 workshop members. 

Kevin enjoying the scenic seaside along with the other 2018 workshop members. 

Metagenomics Workshop – Calgary, Alberta

Tareq has just returned from a Genome-centric Metagenomics Workshop hosted by the University of Calgary entitled From community DNA to provisional whole genomes of microbial populations. The workshop consisted of two sessions, with the first part (June 20-22, 2018) with a hands-on approach to generate and prep metagenomic libraries, and the following session (June 25-29, 2018) allowed participants to process the raw dataset into meaningful results.

The workshop was developed by the University of Calgary Energy Bioengineering and Geomicrobiology Research Group.  

 A group photo of the attendees at the 2018 Metagenomics Workshop hosted at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta. 

A group photo of the attendees at the 2018 Metagenomics Workshop hosted at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta. 

2018 CIFAR-IMB General Meeting – Banff, Alberta

Banff, Alberta marks the final location for the last annual Integrated Microbial Biodiversity (IMB) meeting hosted by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). CIFAR fellows were invited to attend the meeting along with a post-doc or graduate student in their lab as a trainee. The conference was held from June 12-15, 2018, with a trainee workshop hosted on June 11 to help participants assess various career paths within, and outside of, academia. The meeting had intriguing research and interesting talks and discussion from a wide variety of microbial backgrounds. 

Yan attended the conference alongside Nora, who presented a poster of her ongoing research entitled "Type VI secretion system effector immunity diversity in intra-location Vibrio cholerae populations".  Yan and Nora also unveiled a fun, interactive type VI secretion card game during the meeting that was warmly received by members.

The final IMB meeting finished with prominent scientists from around the world sharing inspiring, cutting edge ideas. Collaboration between members and pioneering research will continue, allowing a greater understanding of the microbial world around us.  

 Nora behind her research during the poster presentations. 

Nora behind her research during the poster presentations. 

Computational Microbial Ecology Workshop – Romulus, Michigan

Fabini attended the Computational Microbial Ecology Workshop in Romulus, Michigan on November 2-4, 2015, hosted by Dr. Patrick Schloss of the University of Michigan. The workshop was geared towards people with interests in microbial ecology that would like to learn computer programming using the R language. It involved a blend of lecture/discussion and hands-on use of R with real data.

Learning R programming with Dr. Patrick Schloss

MBL 2015 Advanced Research Courses – Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Paul is excited to attend the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) Advanced Research Courses in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He will join two courses: Workshop on Molecular Evolution (July 20-29, 2015) and Strategies and Techniques for Analyzing Microbial Population Structures (August 5-15, 2015).

In 2002, Yan attended the Microbial Biodiversity Course back when he was a Ph.D. student in Ford Doolittle's lab (Dalhousie University).

MBL is an affiliate of the University of Chicago. The workshop is supported by grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and the National Institutes of Health.

Participants of the Workshop on Molecular Evolution (top) and Strategies and Techniques for Analyzing Microbial Population Structures (bottom) courses at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts

NML Workshops in Microbial Informatics – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Fabini attended two workshops at the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The first one was the Introduction to Linux Workshop (May 5-7, 2014), and the second was the Microbial Whole Genome Sequence Analysis Workshop (May 7-16, 2014). The participants were introduced to various bioinformatics tools for whole genome sequence analysis. The workshops were organized by Dr. Gary Van Domselaar and his laboratory team.

Some light reading for the workshop

Mothur Workshop – Romulus, Michigan

Tania attended the Computational Microbial Ecology Workshop in Romulus, Michigan on August 26-28, 2013. The workshop aimed to familiarize participants with mothur, an open-source software for the bioinformatics needs of the microbial ecology community. The workshop was a mix of lectures, discussions, and hands-on use of mothur with real sequence data. The workshop was organized by Dr. Pat Schloss and his team from the University of Michigan, who are also the developers of the mothur software.

1st International Summer School on Evolution – Lisbon, Portugal

Paul recently attended the First International Summer School on Evolution at the Ciência Viva Knowledge Pavilion, Lisbon, Portugal on July 15-19, 2013. During the week-long event, international experts in the field held courses on the critical aspects of biological and socio-cultural evolution, which centered around the following themes: evolutionary theory, sociocultural evolution, and philosophy of biology.

This workshop was organized by the the Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab of the Centre for Philosophy of Science of the University of Lisbon, in collaboration with Ciência Viva and with the support of the John Templeton Foundation.

Paul (far left) and all participants