Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology has revolutionised the way we study living organisms, allowing us to rapidly obtain and directly examine their genomes, also known as “the blueprints of life” with an affordable price. Owing to advances in sequencing technology and reductions in cost, genomes of all kinds of organisms are being generated at a rapid rate by laboratories and sequencing centres from around the world. At the moment, there are more than 240,000 whole genomic sequences of viruses, bacteria, fungi, animals, and plants deposited in the NCBI database alone, and it appears that the rate at which this number is increasing is not going to slow down any time soon. The main research limitation in the present day is thus no longer data generation like before, but data analysis and interpretation.
Department of Microbiology holds a bioinformatic workshop every year, focusing on applications of bioinformatics to genomics and evolutionary study. The main goal of the workshop is to provide participants hands-on experience from how to assemble a genome from NGS data, to genome annotation, phylogeny reconstruction and result interpretation. The workshop is open to everyone, and focuses primarily on beginners.