News / 19 December 2016

Report provided by Stefan Mutter, EMBL Australia Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the  Mäkinen Group, SA node. Steffan works at the intersection of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Stefan also provided all the social media content for the event.

Over 200 attendees from all over Australia and the world came together for BioInfoSummer in Adelaide at the end of November 2016 to learn the newest trends and methods in bioinformatics and take this new knowledge and inspiration back to their labs. EMBL Australia was an official supporter of this symposium and the Mäkinen Group from the SA node was involved in its organisation and delivery.

BioInfoSummer is one of the flagship events of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) providing bioinformatics training to students, researchers and other professionals with both specialist lectures, as well as hands-on workshops, including computing and wet lab sessions.  This year’s symposium took place at the University of Adelaide from the 28th of November to 2nd of December led by A/Prof Gary Glonek.

BioInfoSummer Workshop
A/Prof Mäkinen teaches a workshop at BioInfoSummer (Picture by Song Gao)

One of these hands-on workshops was designed and delivered by A/Prof Ville-Petteri Mäkinen equipping current and especially future scientists with a flexible and universal toolbox to assess significance of scientific results.  They analysed data from diabetic kidney disease using permutations and bootstrapping to learn how to spot significant differences between clinically relevant groups. His team and the staff members from the Bioinformatics Hub at the University of Adelaide supported his workshop from the technical and tutoring side.

BioInfoSummer had a great line-up of national and international speakers. One of them was A/Prof Xia Yang from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She gave a presentation on using systems genomics to elucidate gene networks on cardiometabolic diseases.  She emphasized methods that bring together analyses from different omics. A/Prof Mäkinen developed this “Mergeomics framework” when he was a postdoc at UCLA. During A/Prof Xia Yang’s visit, her lab and the Mäkinen group took the opportunity to set up collaborations on complex disease research.

EMBL also had an international presence at BioInfoSummer. FIMM-EMBL group leader Dr Simon Anders from the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) gave an insightful and entertaining overview of visualizations to illuminate the bioinformatics pipeline emphasizing the interactive tools for big omics datasets. Tools were also discussed by Dr Philippa Griffin (Open Data Coordinator and Bioinformatician/Research Fellow), from EMBL-ABR. She showcased the Australian Bioinformatic Resource to current and future researchers.

Other members of the EMBL Australia, SA node also supported BioInfoSummer. Group leader A/Prof David Lynn was a panel member at the careers’ event, helping current students to transition well into a research career in bioinformatics.