New online course introduces bioinformatics to address skills gap

The free course ‘Bacterial Genomes: From DNA to protein function using bioinformatics’ was developed by researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute

New online course introduces bioinformatics to address skills gap

New online course introduces bioinformatics to address skills gapConnecting Science, Genome Research Limited
New online course introduces bioinformatics to address skills gap. The course ‘Bacterial Genomes: From DNA to protein function using bioinformatics’ was developed by researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences (ACSC) today announces the launch of its first online course in Bioinformatics in partnership with FutureLearn, the leading social learning platform. The free online course will introduce the revolutionary tools of bioinformatics and shares how researchers probe the genomes of disease-causing bacteria such as MRSA and E. coli to discover what makes these microbes dangerous.

With the millions of bacterial and other genomes that are sequenced every year, vast amounts of data is being produced that needs to be analysed, explored and interpreted using bioinformatics. Due to this, there is a growing need for more trained bioinformaticians.

The free course is a two-week introduction to bioinformatics that is open to anyone - no previous experience is needed. Designed by researchers including Dr Anna Protasio (right), all you need is an internet connection to take part
The free course is a two-week introduction to bioinformatics that is open to anyone - no previous experience is needed. Designed by researchers including Dr Anna Protasio (right), all you need is an internet connection to take part. Image Credit: Connecting Science, Genome Research Limited

The course ‘Bacterial Genomes: From DNA to protein function using bioinformatics’ was developed by researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Designed to teach researchers, students and health care professionals worldwide how to use online computational tools and databases to understand the roles bacterial genes play in health and disease, the course is free, and is open for enrolment now, with the course starting on 11 June 2018.

This two-week introduction to bioinformatics is open to anyone to join, and no previous experience in bioinformatics is needed. As part of the Wellcome mission to be as accessible as possible worldwide, ACSC have sponsored this open access course to provide free enrolment and free certification. The course will take approximately five hours study time per week and learners can complete at their own pace. The course has gained approval for 10 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points, 1 CPD point per hour, from the UK Royal College of Pathologists.

This course is designed to give a gentle introduction to the field, with all terms explained within the course, and hands-on experience to put the knowledge into practice. Especially important for researchers and healthcare professionals who are using genomic data, the course will teach participants how to access DNA data and explore DNA and protein sequences. It will also share how researchers use these tools to decipher the roles bacterial genes play in biology and disease. This is particularly appropriate for biology and computing students, whether at university, college or school – the course has been shown to help students and their teachers put their learning into context.

“There is a great need to develop more bioinformatics skills and expertise throughout the world, and current training courses are oversubscribed. This innovative, free two-week course is a fabulous way for people to try it out, and dip their toes in the bioinformatics waters.”

Dr Anna Protasio, researcher at the Wellcome Sanger Institute who co-designed the course

“We have a passion for open access and equal opportunity here at the Wellcome Genome Campus. Bioinformatics is a growing area and this free online course opens bioinformatics up to anyone in the world who is interested. By learning how to use these online computational tools, people will be able to gain hands-on bioinformatics experience and learn how to explore the genome.”

Dr Pamela Black, the Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences Education Lead

“We’re delighted to be working with Wellcome Genome Campus to be able to introduce bioinformatics to scientists, healthcare practitioners and sixth-formers alike. This online course gives learners the opportunity to learn to use tools and technologies that they might never have encountered, from the convenience of their own computer, desktop or mobile.”

Finola Lang, Senior Partnership Manager at FutureLearn

Watch the trailer for the course:

Notes to Editors
More details about the course: Bacterial Genomes: From DNA to Protein Function Using Bioinformatics

Use bioinformatics to explore DNA sequences and protein functions, to find the determinants of virulence in microbes.

Join us in our quest to discover what makes microbes dangerous. Use bioinformatics to probe genomes, to explore and represent DNA and protein sequences. Then, use databases to find protein sequences’ conserved domains and investigate their functions.

The course will be of interest to, researchers, bioinformaticians, biomedical researchers, microbiologists, healthcare professionals, post-graduates, undergraduates, sixth-formers and all those who are interested in learning about DNA sequences and protein data, or how to use online analytical tools to probe genomes. Although the course has an emphasis on bacterial genomes, the tools covered in this course are applicable to the genomes of all organisms. The opportunity to use online computational tools in the context of bacterial genomes will also be of interest to teachers and their 16-18-year-old science and computing students.

You can sign up for the course here. This part-time, online course will run over two weeks and will take an average of five hours a week. It is open access, aimed at an introductory undergraduate level, and anyone with an interest can join.

No previous knowledge of bioinformatics is expected and the scientific terminology is explained.

Selected Websites
My career in genomics: antibiotic resistanceVideoMy career in genomics: antibiotic resistance
In this film Christine Boinett talks about her research looking at antibiotic resistance in bacteria. This is one of a series of films providing a unique insight into different careers in the field of genomics.

Tracking ‘superbugs’StoriesTracking ‘superbugs’
Infectious diseases can spread quickly in a hospital environment, particularly if the pathogen that causes the disease is resistant to the drugs relied on to fight it. Genomics may be able to help track these resistant pathogens and nip them in the bud before they become widespread…

Science in the time of choleraStoriesScience in the time of cholera
Although cholera is commonly thought to be a disease of the Victorian era, it is still a significant problem in many areas of the modern world. Genomics research is helping to bring us closer to understanding how we may eliminate it once and for all.

Contact the Press Office

Dr Samantha Wynne, Media Officer

Tel +44 (0)1223 492 368

Emily Mobley, Media Officer

Tel +44 (0)1223 496 851

Wellcome Sanger Institute,
Hinxton,
Cambridgeshire,
CB10 1SA,
UK

Mobile +44 (0) 7900 607793

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