Summer Bioinformatics Workshop Proves to be a Success

workshop particiapnts
workshop particiapnts

This summer, Dr. Juan Cui created a bioinformatics workshop for UNL students interested in acquiring skills required to analyze generation sequence (NGS) and other large-scale datasets independent in an efficient manner.
The workshop took place July 28-30. There are many bioinformatics workshops around the country that can cost anywhere from $400-$900 per student. However, because this workshop was a trial and there was sufficient funding from sponsors including Nebraska EPSCoR, the Department of Computer Science & Engineering, and Holland Computing Center, this workshop was free of charge.

Dr. Cui, Dr. Jiangchao Zhang (HCC), Dr. Chi Zhang (Biological Science), and Dr. Istvan Ladunga (Statistics), were the instructors for the workshop. Originally, the instructors were hoping for 20-25 participants but ended up with 52. “I was very happy to have so many participants, but initially we suffered. We had to learn how to accommodate the ratio of students to instructors, so we ran two parallel labs,” said Dr. Cui.

The 52 participants came from different departments including Agriculture and Horticulture, Biochemistry, Computer Science and Engineering, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, UNMC-Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/Cancer Research Graduate Program, Food Science/Nutrition, Entomology, Plant Pathology, Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences/Nebraska Center for Virology and there were even participants from Doane College.

The three workshop days included lectures by Dr. Stephen Scott (CSE), Dr. David Swanson (HCC), Dr. Jitender Deogun (CSE), and Dr. Massimiliano Pierobon (CSE). With the surprisingly large number of participants, the workshop would not have been possible without the following organizing members from the CSE: Jiang Shu, Kevin Chiang, Natasha Pavlovikj, Sairam Behera, and LaRita Lang.

Next summer, Dr. Cui hopes to have another bioinformatics workshop with broader coverage so it’s easier for students from different departments to understand the material. She also wants to invite more faculty and have even more participants, as long as the funding is available.