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1.  Next-generation sequencing: a challenge to meet the increasing demand for training workshops in Australia 
Briefings in Bioinformatics  2013;14(5):563-574.
The widespread adoption of high-throughput next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology among the Australian life science research community is highlighting an urgent need to up-skill biologists in tools required for handling and analysing their NGS data. There is currently a shortage of cutting-edge bioinformatics training courses in Australia as a consequence of a scarcity of skilled trainers with time and funding to develop and deliver training courses. To address this, a consortium of Australian research organizations, including Bioplatforms Australia, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Australian Bioinformatics Network, have been collaborating with EMBL-EBI training team. A group of Australian bioinformaticians attended the train-the-trainer workshop to improve training skills in developing and delivering bioinformatics workshop curriculum. A 2-day NGS workshop was jointly developed to provide hands-on knowledge and understanding of typical NGS data analysis workflows. The road show–style workshop was successfully delivered at five geographically distant venues in Australia using the newly established Australian NeCTAR Research Cloud. We highlight the challenges we had to overcome at different stages from design to delivery, including the establishment of an Australian bioinformatics training network and the computing infrastructure and resource development. A virtual machine image, workshop materials and scripts for configuring a machine with workshop contents have all been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. This means participants continue to have convenient access to an environment they had become familiar and bioinformatics trainers are able to access and reuse these resources.
PMCID: PMC3771231  PMID: 23543352
training; next-generation sequencing; NGS; cloud; workshop
2.  Bioinformatics Training Network (BTN): a community resource for bioinformatics trainers 
Briefings in Bioinformatics  2011;13(3):383-389.
Funding bodies are increasingly recognizing the need to provide graduates and researchers with access to short intensive courses in a variety of disciplines, in order both to improve the general skills base and to provide solid foundations on which researchers may build their careers. In response to the development of ‘high-throughput biology’, the need for training in the field of bioinformatics, in particular, is seeing a resurgence: it has been defined as a key priority by many Institutions and research programmes and is now an important component of many grant proposals. Nevertheless, when it comes to planning and preparing to meet such training needs, tension arises between the reward structures that predominate in the scientific community which compel individuals to publish or perish, and the time that must be devoted to the design, delivery and maintenance of high-quality training materials. Conversely, there is much relevant teaching material and training expertise available worldwide that, were it properly organized, could be exploited by anyone who needs to provide training or needs to set up a new course. To do this, however, the materials would have to be centralized in a database and clearly tagged in relation to target audiences, learning objectives, etc. Ideally, they would also be peer reviewed, and easily and efficiently accessible for downloading. Here, we present the Bioinformatics Training Network (BTN), a new enterprise that has been initiated to address these needs and review it, respectively, to similar initiatives and collections.
PMCID: PMC3357490  PMID: 22110242
Bioinformatics; training; end users; bioinformatics courses; learning bioinformatics
3.  The Male Sex Pheromone of the Butterfly Bicyclus anynana: Towards an Evolutionary Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(7):e2751.
Female sex pheromones attracting mating partners over long distances are a major determinant of reproductive isolation and speciation in Lepidoptera. Males can also produce sex pheromones but their study, particularly in butterflies, has received little attention. A detailed comparison of sex pheromones in male butterflies with those of female moths would reveal patterns of conservation versus novelty in the associated behaviours, biosynthetic pathways, compounds, scent-releasing structures and receiving systems. Here we assess whether the African butterfly Bicyclus anynana, for which genetic, genomic, phylogenetic, ecological and ethological tools are available, represents a relevant model to contribute to such comparative studies.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Using a multidisciplinary approach, we determined the chemical composition of the male sex pheromone (MSP) in the African butterfly B. anynana, and demonstrated its behavioural activity. First, we identified three compounds forming the presumptive MSP, namely (Z)-9-tetradecenol (Z9-14:OH), hexadecanal (16:Ald ) and 6,10,14-trimethylpentadecan-2-ol (6,10,14-trime-15-2-ol), and produced by the male secondary sexual structures, the androconia. Second, we described the male courtship sequence and found that males with artificially reduced amounts of MSP have a reduced mating success in semi-field conditions. Finally, we could restore the mating success of these males by perfuming them with the synthetic MSP.
This study provides one of the first integrative analyses of a MSP in butterflies. The toolkit it has developed will enable the investigation of the type of information about male quality that is conveyed by the MSP in intraspecific communication. Interestingly, the chemical structure of B. anynana MSP is similar to some sex pheromones of female moths making a direct comparison of pheromone biosynthesis between male butterflies and female moths relevant to future research. Such a comparison will in turn contribute to understanding the evolution of sex pheromone production and reception in butterflies.
PMCID: PMC2447158  PMID: 18648495
4.  iAnn: an event sharing platform for the life sciences 
Bioinformatics  2013;29(15):1919-1921.
Summary: We present iAnn, an open source community-driven platform for dissemination of life science events, such as courses, conferences and workshops. iAnn allows automatic visualisation and integration of customised event reports. A central repository lies at the core of the platform: curators add submitted events, and these are subsequently accessed via web services. Thus, once an iAnn widget is incorporated into a website, it permanently shows timely relevant information as if it were native to the remote site. At the same time, announcements submitted to the repository are automatically disseminated to all portals that query the system. To facilitate the visualization of announcements, iAnn provides powerful filtering options and views, integrated in Google Maps and Google Calendar. All iAnn widgets are freely available.
PMCID: PMC3712218  PMID: 23742982

Results 1-4 (4)