Successful EPIZONE workshop on NGS applications and bioinformatics

Published on
April 12, 2016

We look back on a successful workshop, which provided a comprehensive introduction to NGS technologies and applications in veterinary virology, and also offered the opportunity to exchange and discuss experiences with NGS and learn more about the NGS work carried out by other institutes.

The EPIZONE workshop on next-generation sequencing (NGS) applications and bioinformatics was organized on April 5-8, 2016 by CODA-CERVA Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Center in Brussels, Belgium. After the tragic events in Brussels two weeks earlier, it was considered whether it was still feasible to hold the workshop. The organizers of the workshop agreed that we should not let terrorism interfere with our values of international collaboration, science and education. Therefore, the workshop took place as planned with over 20 participants involved.

Informative and interactive sessions were provided by nine trainers from various EPIZONE institutes. Participants consisted of scientists just starting to use NGS technologies or planning projects involving NGS. The workshop started with a brief introduction about the host institute, workshop agenda and expected deliverables. After the participants and trainers were warmly welcomed by the workshop coordinator, everyone briefly introduced their background and NGS interest.

The workshop consisted of both theoretical lectures and practical bioinformatics sessions. The first lectures included a theoretical introduction to NGS or, as some prefer to call it, the current generation of sequencing or high throughput seuencing (HTS). The participants received an overview of NGS technologies, library preparation methods, data formats and analysis methods. Afterwards, participants gained hands-on experience on how to accurately analyse sequence data using Linux command line, including quality control of data and sequence assembly.

The participants were also introduced to Galaxy, another platform for NGS data analysis, which can be used to build an analysis pipeline. In the last part of the workshop, examples of NGS applications in veterinary virology were given: from metagenomics to detailed presentations about experimental design, data analysis and interpretation.

Saskia Bergervoet (CVI)