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All Hands on Deck: SNP Workshop: High-Tech Training 'One of the Smoothest, Glitch-Free Events' Ever at NIEHS'

By Colleen Chandler
March 2006

DERT and the Office of the Director sponsored the SNP workshop at NIEHS as part of an education series designed to ensure biomedical researchers keep abreast of the latest technology related to bioinformatics and genotyping. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the technology with hands-on training.
DERT and the Office of the Director sponsored the SNP workshop at NIEHS as part of an education series designed to ensure biomedical researchers keep abreast of the latest technology related to bioinformatics and genotyping. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the technology with hands-on training. (Photo by Steve McCaw, Image Associates)

Participants had the opportunity to learn about the technology with hands-on training.
Participants had the opportunity to learn about the technology with hands-on training. (Photo by Steve McCaw, Image Associates)

As the age of technology meets the world of biomedical research, NIEHS is not about to be left behind.

A workshop held Jan. 30-31 at NIEHS was the first of a planned series of training courses designed to ensure that both intramural and extramural researchers understand the latest available technology for bioinformatics and genotyping.

"SNP Workshop: Bioinformatics and Genotyping" was designed to provide an overview of the latest approaches for identifying and genotyping single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs. The course covered the extraction of SNP data from public resources, approaches for SNP discovery by re-sequencing, the use of software for haplotype inference and optimal SNP selection for genotying, platform approaches for SNP genotyping and analyses of these data sets.

DERT and the Office of the Director funded the workshop through a contract with the University of Washington. The workshop was the culmination of months of planning across divisions in the Institute, relying heavily on the technical expertise of NIEHS contractors. NIEHS Director David Schwartz and Deputy Director Sam Wilson hosted the event.

Lauranell Burch, a staff scientist in the Laboratory of Respiratory Biology who led the planning group, said attendance exceeded expectations, with about 100 people. Other members of the coordinating committee were Alma Britton, program specialist, Elizabeth Maull, DERT program administrator, and Jack Field, chief of the Scientific Computing Lab.

"The support staff at NIEHS participated in making the workshop happen. We all worked together and the result was one of the smoothest, glitch free events that has been held at NIEHS," Field said. According to an NIEHS memo, there are plans to offer additional workshops in conjunction with a variety of national meetings throughout the country.

Image Associates staff taped the conference, and will edit it to a two-hour presentation, which should be available this summer. Lockheed-Martin staff provided support in the areas of hardware, networks, and laptop set-up to enable the technological aspects of providing hands-on experience using laptops. The workshop was free. For more information, go to http://egp.gs.washington.edu/.



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