Bringing together the bioinformaticians of today and tomorrow

It was with great excitement the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre hosted the inaugural joint Pawsey-COMBINE Bioinformatics Symposium on 6th and 7th September.

Bioinformaticians and the Pawsey Supercomputers have had a long association. Bioinformaticians run a variety of research workflows, which have a range of computational requirements. Therefore, they use many different systems at Pawsey, including Magnus, the Nimbus cloud service, the high-throughput cluster Zeus, and our data storage services.

The Pawsey Supercomputers and the Bioinformaticians have worked closely on projects such as:

The COMBINE community, a student-run Australian organisation for students in computational biology, bioinformatics, and related fields,  have had few opportunities to bring students together, allowing them to discover the different kinds of unique research other institutes are conducing.

To this end, the two-day symposium focused on aligning the bioinformatics researchers of today with the researchers of tomorrow and brought together an audience from diverse backgrounds including, academia, CSIRO, state departments and private organisations.

Day one commenced with speakers from a variety of universities and a number of industries providing a seamless platform for inspiring researchers, practitioners and educators to exhibit and discuss their latest genomics related research outcomes, with topics covering Multiomics, Microbiology, Plant biology, Human and plant genetics and Single-cell.

The day’s presenters included: Philipp Bayer, from the School of Biological Sciences at UWA who presented on The Path of least Resistance (genes) Mining Plant Genomes for Disease Resistance.

Rachael Lappan, PhD Candidate at the Telethon Kids Institute presented on The Omics of Otitis Media In Children and the complexities surrounding this disease, Rick Tankard from Murdoch University presented on Identifying disease causing repeat expansions in next generation sequencing data, along with Darcy Jones, a PhD candidate from Curtin University who spoke of Pan-genomic analyses of P.nodorum.

The final presenter for the day was Dulce B. Vargas-Landlin, PhD candidate from UWA on Rett syndrome, cell by cell.

Day two of the symposium consisted of Pawsey experts providing a hands-on training day focusing for the first time on container technology for bioinformatics applications, this was followed by an introduction to Unix and Cloud computing giving participants the opportunity to catch up and test some of the newest computing technologies in the field.

From all accounts the Symposium was informative, inclusive and attendees were elated to acknowledge the expanding engagement of Pawsey Supercomputing Centre with the community of Bioinformaticians.