From 24-28 February 2020, CenGen and Stellenbosch University had the privilege of welcoming three expert trainers from the UK and colleagues from across a range of South African research institutions for the third Bioinformatics and Wheat Genomics Workshop held at the Stellenbosch University Ukwanda campus in Worcester. This course, building on the success of the previous two courses on these subjects held in 2017 and 2019, was an intermediate course covering an introduction to R software, advanced Linux programming, and a self-directed practical on the bioinformatics of a bulk segregant analysis approach using NGS data. Participants also gained first-hand experience in utilising a Raspberry-Pi computer cluster built by Dr Rob Davey.
The trainers were Dr Diane Saunders and Dr Burkhard Steuernagel from the John Innes Centre and Dr Rob Davey from the Earlham Institute in Norwich. Despite their expertise in their own research fields and their immense experience in complicated data analyses and genomics, they are also experts at explaining these concepts to trainees who are learning about it for the first time.
Given that the know-how in South Africa on genomics and bioinformatics for the wheat crop in particular is very limited, courses such as these are the perfect platforms to establish a knowledge base in our country. It also provided excellent opportunities for trainees to network and build new relationships.
We are thankful that the trainers could take time off from their busy schedules to come to South Africa once again. We are also thankful towards Stellenbosch University and the UK Science and Innovation Network for funding this essential course, as well as Sensako (Pty) Ltd for sponsoring the course dinner.