Workshop “Resolving Microbial Communities at Strain-level Resolution” a success.

At least, that was my distinct impression! As announced on the blog a while back, Nicolas Tromas, Pawel Sierocinski, Daniela Farina and myself hosted a workshop featuring talks and tutorials on cutting-edge metagenomic software aiming to progress from gene-based to genome-based metagenomics. In addition, we discussed what metagenome-assembled genomes (‘MAGs) represent in terms of units of diversity relevant to evolution, i.e. species. We had speakers Jesse Shapiro from the University of Montreal, Daniel Falush from the University of Bath and Elizabeth McDaniel from the University of Wisconsin talking about species concepts, genome evolution and MAGs. Chris Quince from the University of Warwick started with a metagenomics ‘bootcamp’ and also hosted a session on the DESMAN software. Murat Eren (‘meren‘) at the University of Chicago and Tom Delmont (was University of Chicago, now at GenoScope in Paris) talked about the Anvio software, whose exquisite visualisation capabilities of environmental genomes are illustrated below:

Over 60 participants diligently worked through hands-on tutorials and socialised during the breaks. It was great to see so many people travelling to Cornwall for this workshop: apart from the UK, people travelled from Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Canada and the US (including Hawaii) and probably a few more countries. We ended the four days with an afternoon of microbiology talks by local talent, including Aimee Murray, Anne Leonard (both Medical School), Elze Hesse and Pawel Sierocinski (Biosciences). Our workshop was supported by CLIMB Cloud Infrastructure for Bioinformatics, Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences as well as Agilent, Illumina, Eppendorf and Eurofins with the largest contribution made by the Innovation, Impact and Business Future Focus initiative (with lots of practical help by Hollie Kirk). Michiel

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