EMBO course on phylogenetics in the -omics era

In January we taught a week-long course on Phylogenomics in the -omic's era in Iquitos Peru. This week-long residential course funded by EMBO covered all the skills necessary to utilise modern omics data to understand evolutionary processes. The teaching team were excellent and included:

Dr. Mary O’Connell – Co-organiser  (Leeds University, UK)
Dr. Chris Creevey – Co-Organiser (Aberystwyth University, Wales)
Dr. Karen Siu Ting – Co-Organiser (Aberystwyth University, Wales)
Dr. Fred Chu – Co-Organiser (IIAP, Peru)
Dr. Claudia Russo  (Universidade Federal do Rio De Janeiro , Brasil) 
Dr. Omar Rota-Stabelli  (Fondazione Edmund Mach, Italy)
Professor James McInerney (University of Manchester, UK)
Dr. Mark Wilkinson (The Natural History Museum, London, UK)
Dr. Claire Morgan (Imperial College London, UK.)

The city of Iquitos provided a unique backdrop for the course, being the largest city in the world inaccessible by road and situated on the Amazon river. The course was hosted by the Institute for Research of the Peruvian Amazon (IIAP), which is devoted to scientific and technological research primarily focused towards biodiversity and sustainability in the Peruvian Amazon. Their research centre in Iquitos was the location for the course and they provided an fully equipped classroom with high-speed internet for the duration of the course.

This course was designed for molecular biologists, evolutionary biologists, and bioinformaticians interested in the history of organisms and their genes and genomes and provided the students with all the critical skills necessary for the analysis of large scale –omics data in an evolutionary framework. To achieve this we utilised computing resources based in Aberystywth Univeristy in Wales for the practical sessions and a dedicated permanent online course wiki containing all the lecture and practical materials.

The students were also amazing and the presentations of their work were one of the highlights of the course for the instructors. It is also great to see how the skills your are teaching will be used in practice. The response of the students to the course was overwhelmingly positive, with over 95% it met or exceeded their expectations.

This was the latest in a series of courses run by the same core group of instructors, but the first time it was run in Peru. It was evident that there is a demand for these skills in many latin-american countries, and it is always a fun place to visit, so I'm sure we will be back!

The classroom in IIAP

Chris getting his teaching on.

Group photo

Visiting a nearby manatee sanctuary