Genome browser training live from the US attracts national audience

UCSC Genome Browser: a full-featured genomic data system. Lead Trainer: Robert Kuhn, Associate Director of UCSC Genome Browser, Training and Outreach, Genome Browser licensing

This series of three events introduced the UCSC Genome Browser, which is a widely used platform for interpreting many types of genome-wide data for a large number of organisms.  In the context of human genomics, aggregated data from hundreds of projects are available, including short and long variants (SNPs and CNVs), benign and pathogenic variants from several large databases, and epigenomics data such as histone- and DNA-modification.  In addition, the Browser provides a consistent interface and gene models for mouse and more than 120 other animals.

Two introductory webinars were broadcast: Using the UCSC Genome Browser; and Advanced features of the Genome Browser, with a national audience of 97 and 68 on 23/24 October 2018. They continue to be available for public viewing: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5WlFNBSfmt3e8Js8o2fFqQ.

The following hands-on workshop on 8 November provided practical instruction in the use of the UCSC Genome Browser, and demonstrated recently added features including display of exons only, display of discontinuous regions of the genome and the simultaneous, joint configuration of multiple wiggle files, such as those used to display RNA-seq data. Robert Kuhn developed new materials specifically for delivery from the US via an online meeting to the Australian audience of 35. Select local researchers attended a private training session with the UCSC Genome Browser team in advance of the event to troubleshoot exercises and gain confidence in using the Browser, to enable their role as helpers at their respective institutions. The live public session was offered at five EMBL-ABR Nodes around Australia, with expert hands-on help provided by the trained helpers while Robert Kuhn stepped through exercises together with participants around the country. Following the workshop, all of the respondents to the evaluation survey agreed that ‘This was a useful workshop that enhanced my knowledge and skills.’

These events were initiated by Dominique Gorse, Director, QFAB Bioinformatics, and supported by AGTA’s Small Grants scheme. They engaged with a national audience via the EMBL Australia Bioinformatics Network.