Harwell bioinformatics training workshop
On 17 July 2014, MRC Harwell hosted the training course 'Bioinformatics of Mouse Mutant Resources', which proved to be a great success.
Participants came from all across the UK for the training; Bristol, Oxford, Edinburgh and London. As an ice-breaker, everyone was asked to stand up, say who they were and place themselves somewhere between the four terms 'scientist', 'clinician', 'ontologist' and 'bioinformatician', and it soon became apparent that we had a diverse group of people present. This eclectic mix meant that we had questions from all spheres of expertise, and it was great to see the different elements of the resources shown that peaked their interest.
We had speakers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, EBI and MRC Harwell, and the morning consisted of a series of talks explaining how mouse mutant resources such as the IMPC web portal can be used to their full potential. After lunch, the participants then had the chance to try their hand at using this information in a set of tutorials, complete with worked examples and a team on hand to answer their questions.
There was a lot of information to take in, so the participants were provided with a booklet describing the different processes that you can use the IMPC portal for, such as searching for a gene, phenotype or mouse disease model. It also contained links to other resources, such as MouseBook, where data and archived material is stored from other mutant mice at MRC Harwell. They took this booklet away with them, and were provided with copies of the slides for future reference.
At the end of the day, just before they left, the participants were asked to fill in a short online form to let us know what they thought of the course. We had great feedback, with very positive responses and comments, as well as some really useful advice on how we could improve the course in the future. We also had some great feedback on the IMPC portal, with some excellent ideas for additional features. As the speakers there were the very people who have the power to implement these changes, this allowed them to take on board a whole host of ideas that they can use to make the IMPC portal an even better tool, finely tailored to its users needs.
Overall, the day was extremely successful, and we hope to run it again next year. If you would like more information on this training course or the many others that we run throughout the year, please visit our training section.