The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) recently hosted a three day workshop on working with genetic sequencing data.
TGAC, a BBSRC strategically-funded institute, led the training workshop with European partner SeqAhead Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action, which aims to comprehend Next Generation Sequence (NGS) data and galvanise efficient workflows for NGS data storage, retrieval and analysis.
With 70 stakeholders from 28 countries, the three-day meeting explored the state-of-the-art in NGS data analysis, its current challenges and applications.
Dr. Ana Conesa from the Prince Felipe Research Centre (Spain) and Aleksandra Pawlik from the Software Sustainability Institute (UK) chaired presentations from leading international scientists, covering data analysis and management, bioinformatics training, functional and pathogen genomics. The SeqAhead Management Committee meeting concluded the event, led by chairman, Erik Bongcam-Rudloff, and vice-chair, Terri Attwood.
SeqAhead-COST Action aims to develop a coordinated action plan for the scientific community to assist with the rise of NGS data, using advanced bioinformatics. Establishment of a strong European network of NGS institutes, data-analysis and informatics, will facilitate and stimulate the exchange of data, protocols, software, experiences and ideas. Distributing this knowledge and expertise via combined education and publication programs, such as TGAC's workshop, unites bioinformaticians, computer scientists and biomedical scientists, harnessing their expertise to bring NGS data management and analysis to new levels of efficiency and integration.
NGS technologies use high-throughput approaches that parallelise the sequencing process, producing thousands or millions of concurrent DNA sequences. Producing data on an unprecedented scale, these techniques are now driving the generation of knowledge to new dimensions. The large data volumes being generated by these new technologies require new data-handling and storage methods, creating an urgent need in the life science community for new and improved approaches to facilitate NGS data management and analysis.
Vicky Schneider, Head of 361° Division (Scientific Training, Education & Learning), said: "Organising and hosting the SeqAhead Scientific Meeting and AGM at TGAC was a great opportunity to meet key scientists working in a variety of aspects in NGS, from more than 25 countries. We're looking forward to hosting the SeqAhead training on NGS for plant scientists later this year."
Matt Clark, Plant and Microbial Genomics Group Leader at TGAC, said: "NGS is a large, growing and rapidly moving field, it's critical to keep your eye on the latest technical breakthroughs and best practices both in the lab and in bioinformatics to do the best possible research. Meetings such as this are critical to sharing knowledge across the EU and to ensure we learn from each other rapidly."
Professor Erik Bongcam-Rudloff from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala and Chair of SeqAhead, said: "A single small sequencer, no bigger than a desktop computer, can now produce more data per day than previously produced by all sequencing projects worldwide, from the start of Sanger sequencing in 1980 to the year 2000. These massive volumes of data require new data handling and storage methods, and experts need to continuously meet to discuss the progress in this 'moving target' field. The COST Action SeqAhead meeting organised at TGAC is an important contribution to this endeavour".
Terri Atwood, Professor of Bioinformatics at the University of Manchester and Vice-Chair of SeqAhead, said: "Networks like SeqAhead are vital both for allowing scientists to share best practice in the development and use of cutting-edge research tools, and for helping to train the 'next generation' of next generation sequencing researchers!"
The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) is a research institute focused on the development of genomics and computational biology. TGAC is based within the Norwich Research Park and receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) – £9.2M in 2012-2013 – as well as support from other research funders. TGAC is one of eight institutes that receive strategic funding from BBSRC.
TGAC offers state of the art DNA sequencing facility, unique by its operation of multiple complementary technologies for data generation. The Institute is a UK hub for innovative Bioinformatics through research, analysis and interpretation of multiple, complex data sets. It hosts one of the largest computing hardware facilities dedicated to life science research in Europe. It is also actively involved in developing novel platforms to provide access to computational tools and processing capacity for multiple academic and industrial users and promoting applications of computational Bioscience. Additionally, the Institute offers a Training programme through courses and workshops, and an Outreach programme targeting schools, teachers and the general public through dialogue and science communication activities. www.tgac.ac.uk