Featuring nearly one hundred species and serving millions of requests each year, the UCSC Genome Browser is one of the world’s most popular bioinformatics resources.
This September, hundreds of Australian researchers had the chance to learn some of the key functions and inside tricks of the Browser from no less than the project’s Associate Director, Dr Bob Kuhn. Over two and a half weeks, Bob toured Australia delivering seminars, running workshops and meeting with scientists around the country, and even managed to fit in a little sightseeing along the way.
In total, nearly four hundred researchers in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide took the opportunity to benefit from Bob’s unique knowledge of the capabilities of the Browser. More than one hundred and twenty people participated in the hands-on workshops, while over two hundred and fifty attended his series of lectures and seminars or met with him individually. Bob's presentations were enjoyable, informative and engaging and widely appreciated by his audience, as summed up by Nigel Bennett from the University of Queensland: “His knowledge and enthusiasm made the workshop extremely interesting”.
As well as providing a great chance to find out more about the Browser, the roadshow also gave valuable exposure to the Genomics Virtual Laboratory and its Australian mirror of the UCSC Genome Browser. The GVL is a national project to deliver bioinformatics tools on the NeCTAR research cloud, and their copy of the Browser offers local scientists faster access and longer storage of custom tracks than the main instance. Bob used the mirror for all of his seminars and workshops, and also worked closely with the GVL team during his visit to optimise the performance of this local resource.
QFAB Bioinformatics and the ABN would like to thank all our colleagues around the country for hosting Bob throughout his tour – Helen Speirs from the Ramaciotti Centre, Jason Ellul and Maria Doyle at the Peter Mac, Shane Herbert of AGRF and Nathan Watson-Haigh from the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics – as well as the GVL team for their great support.
Bob's visit was made possible by one of the ABN's Connection Grants, so a massive thanks goes out to Mark Crowe for siezing the initiative to apply for the Grant and for putting in a huge amount of work to coordinate the entire tour.
Last, but by no means least: thanks to the UCSC Genome Browser team and Bob Kuhn! Love your work!