A week of genomics and bioinformatics in Weggis

Last week I travelled to Weggis, Switzerland and attended the Bioinfomatics for Adaptation Genomics Winter School 2016 ran by the ETH Zurich. I was part of an international group of 30  postdocs and PhD students focused on learning some new  bioinformatic techniques to deal with NGS genomic data, which is a major part of my last PhD chapter. The five days of hands on bioinformatic analyses were absolutely great and introduced me to some software and concepts that I wasn’t yet experienced in – for example with full genome data (Erik Garrison), and GWAS (Arthur Korte).

However, the RADseq (Jon Puritz), detecting signatures of selection (Matteo Fumagalli) and inferring complex demographies (Daniel Wegmann) days were particularly relevant to my PhD project and an invaluable experience for me personally. I was extremely happy to hear the recommendations for designing NGS studies matched the major decisions that I made when I designed my own RADseq project, and looking around the room I could see that other people were also relieved to hear their experimental design was solid!

I have gained a huge amount of bioinformatic experience over the past year (mainly for RADseq data using Stacks and pyRAD) so it was great to hear about some other software I can use on my data (dDocent, ANGSD and NGStools, Fastsimcoal and ABCtoolbox). Overall I was extremely impressed with the skills and techniques we learned on this course; the organisers and instructors really did a great job, and it was massively beneficial. I would highly recommend this course to anyone wishing to take a peek inside the ‘black box’ of genomic analysis tools!