EMBL-EBI Training website: one year on

A profile picture of Anna Swan is shown


Author
: Anna Swan, Scientific Training Officer, e-learning at EMBL-EBI.

 


In February 2021, we launched the new EMBL-EBI Training website. Read more about that in our previous blog post.

Since then we’ve had over 600,000 visitors from around the world using the site to discover our live courses and learn from our on-demand training.

What does EMBL-EBI Training’s site offer?

  • Listings and registration pages for all of our live training, including face-to-face courses and webinars
  • Access to on-demand training, such as self-paced online tutorials and recorded webinars that are available anytime, anywhere
  • A simple search box on the homepage to help you search for training on a topic of interest
  • Support for trainers in using our materials and expanding their training skills
A screen shot of the EMBL-EBI training homepage
The homepage allows users to search and browse for training of interest.

What’s new since we launched in 2021?

After releasing the new site, we continued with further development. In line with EMBL’s mission to provide the world with #OpenData, we now provide sets of course materials from live courses, open to everyone, not just those that attended. You can find these in the on-demand section of the website.

Course materials can be in a variety of formats: lecture recordings, slides and practical instructions.

A screen shot of EMBL-EBI training, on-demand listings
Sets of course materials are now listed in our on-demand section – available for you to access anytime.

The materials are presented with overviews and learning objectives for each session of the course and are searchable to help you find the specific materials that are of use to you.

Not only that, all sets of course materials are labelled CC-BY, so you can use them for your own learning, or to train others. We encourage you to use our training far and wide.

As we continue to run live courses, the materials will be updated with the latest science and analysis methods to help you stay up to date.

A screenshot of the EMBL-EBI course website for bioinformatics for immunologists and its course materials
There are a range of topics covered by our course materials, including bioinformatics for immunologists.

What’s new for 2022?

With the site now a place many people come to find and complete learning, our next focus is on the community around bioinformatics training and learning.

If you are someone who teaches about EMBL-EBI resources, we’re keen to hear from you! Complete our short survey to join our community focus group.

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Meet the trainer: Isidro Cortes Ciriano

We sat down with Isidro Cortes Ciriano to discuss his involvement with the upcoming EMBL-EBI Cancer genomics course, and find out what training means to him. 

Cancer genomics | 20 – 24 June 2022 | Hinxton, UK

Hi Isidro! Tell us a bit about yourself for those that don’t know you.

I joined EMBL-EBI in 2019 as a research group leader. My team focuses on the development of computational tools to understand the molecular alterations underpinning cancer, with a focus on the analysis of somatic mutations using sequencing data.

I am also one of the scientific organisers of this year’s EMBL-EBI Cancer genomics training course.

What is your research focus, and how long have you worked in your scientific field?

I obtained my PhD at the Pasteur Institute in 2015 before completing postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School, under the supervision of Prof. Peter Park, and at the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Prof. Andreas Bender.  My expertise includes biology, genomics and statistical modelling.

Tell us more about the Cancer genomics course you’re involved in. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of applying?

Do it! The course provides an exciting opportunity to learn about the latest approaches for cancer genome analysis, with relevance for both research and clinical applications.

That sounds great! How has training influenced or assisted your own career do you think?

Training at the MSc/PhD level is fundamental to cement basic knowledge in the field. This includes both reading literature and hands-on training to understand the particularities and limitations of the algorithms we use, all of which helps acquire the necessary expertise to drive research projects in a rigorous manner.

Thanks Isidro, we can’t wait to hear you talk at the course this June.

Join Isidro Cortes Ciriano at EMBL-EBI's Cancer genomics training course.
Join Isidro Cortes Ciriano at EMBL-EBI’s Cancer genomics training course.

Applications for Cancer genomics are now open until 11 March 2022.
View the full programme and apply now.

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Meet the EMBL Events Team: Sophie

Meet the newest member of the EMBL-EBI training team, Sophie Spencer. She joined the team in October 2021 with a focus on the on-site and virtual training programme.

PHOTO: Sophie Spencer
PHOTO: Sophie Spencer

We sat down with Sophie to get to know her and find out about some of the other career paths she could have taken.

Welcome to the team, Sophie. Now that you have been able to visit the EMBL-EBI campus, what is your favourite place in the area?
The campus is absolutely amazing, and I have to say Hinxton Hall is a fantastic venue. I can’t wait to run an event there once restrictions allow.

As an experienced events organiser, what is the first thing you do before a course starts and the first thing you do after a course finishes?
Just before a course starts, I take a deep breath and visualise how the day will run. It might sound odd, but it helps me to work through my on-the-day checklist. The first thing I do after a course finishes is to take another deep breath and smile!

Sophie poses with an alpaca
Sophie poses with an alpaca

Changing tact, if you weren’t an events organiser what would you be?
I absolutely love working in events, but I do have a dream of running an alpaca farm with a cute little café when I retire. Of course, I will need to learn about how to care for alpacas first…

 

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened in an event?
That’s a tricky one! I’d have to go with this time I was running a virtual conference a year or so ago. During the event, we had some unforeseen technical issues which, unfortunately, disrupted the entire event. I managed to fix the issue and came on screen to explain to the audience what had happened and to apologise for the disruption. A little while later I was running a session with our keynote speaker who happened to be a polar explorer. He proceeded to invite me to join his next polar exploration because of how calm I am under pressure! Can’t see myself traversing the Antarctic any time soon but nice to know I’ve got options if my event organiser career doesn’t work out.

We think events organisers are already superheroes, but if you were a fictional superhero what power would you like to have?
It would be wonderful to be able to talk to animals, imagine if you could know what your pets are thinking!

And finally, tell us, what is your favourite book?
I’m going to cheat and give a series rather than a single book… I’ve just revisited “His Dark Materials” by Philip Pullman which I loved as a child, and still do today!

You can connect with Sophie on LinkedIn or join her at the following events she is currently working on:

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Meet the EMBL Events Team: Marina

PHOTO: Marina Pujol
PHOTO: Marina Pujol

Today’s interview is with EMBL-EBI’s Marina Pujol. Marina is one of the event organisers in the team, with a focus on the on-site and virtual training courses as well as assisting with the delivery of events for the CABANA project.

At EMBL since: June 2018
Number of organised courses: 21

Favourite place in Hinxton area?
Audley End House. This is a gorgeous Victorian country house surrounded by beautiful gardens. They host many activities throughout the year, which my family and I love to go to, for example during Christmas they have their gardens decorated with lights and it looks magical.

Audley End miniature railway at Christmas
PHOTO: Audley End miniature railway at Christmas

What is the first thing you do before a course starts and first thing you do after a course finishes?
First thing, getting a large coffee and checking calls and emails. Last thing: take a deep breath, smile and relax.

What are the challenges/differences of organising a virtual course?
In my opinion, before the course starts everything is similar to an onsite course. The moment of truth arrives when everybody logs in the call. If any of the organisers or the speakers have technical issues at that moment… time stops! I am always crossing fingers wishing that everybody’s connections work fine! 

You’ve been working from home for nine months now; how have you adapted your role during this time?
To me, the positive part of working from home is that you don’t have interruptions usually, and can concentrate more. However, I have to make sure that I still have that “human” contact with my colleagues. Breaking for a chat it’s always nice and much needed!

If you weren’t a course officer what would you be?
Anything to do with animals, but especially with dogs. I always had dogs around me and I love to spend time with them. Going for long walks together or cuddling them is priceless.

What is the strangest/funniest thing that has ever happened in a course?
In the middle of a keynote lecture, a delegate’s phone went off and Siri said ‘Sorry, I don’t understand’. Everybody laughed!

If you were a superhero what power would you like to have?
Flying. Just last night I dreamt that I was flying above a kind of a Disney lookalike castle.

Favourite book?
El psicoanalista by John Katzenbach

Upcoming events Marina is organising:
Managing a bioinformatics core facility 2021 – Virtual
Applications open shortly – sign up for alerts now.

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CABANA – not just a shelter from the sun

You may have heard the name CABANA floating around the EMBL training programme, but you may not know exactly what it is. Here we present a handy guide to the project, its origins and where it stands now almost three years on from its launch.

PHOTO: CABANA logo
PHOTO: CABANA logo

CABANA is a capacity strengthening project for bioinformatics in Latin America. It aims to accelerate the implementation of data-driven biology in the region by creating a sustainable capacity-building programme focusing on three challenge areas – communicable disease, sustainable food production and protection of biodiversity.

Want to know more about the project? Check out this video from the CABANA consortium.

With just over a year left of the project, funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) – part of the UK Aid Budget, the capacity building element of the project is ramping up. A big part of the project is running a series of training events for the Latin American audience, something that began with the centralised events team within EMBL-EBI, but is now increasingly being operated in Latin America by the partners themselves.

CABANA has virtualised its training programme for the rest of 2020 and has committed to a fully virtual 2021 programme too. Check out the latest events on offer, or visit the new virtual training portal for the e-learning options.

Follow the CABANA project on Twitter or Facebook for the latest news and updates.

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