McMaster to co-host national bioinformatics workshop 

Professor Andrew McArthur, right, from the department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, seen here with graduate student Jalees Nasir, is co-lead of the 2024 Infectious Disease Genomic Epidemiology Workshop at McMaster, part of the Canadian Bioinformatics Workshop Series.

One of Canada’s largest bioinformatics workshops is coming to McMaster. 

Next month, the university and Simon Fraser University in British Columbia will co-host the 2024 Infectious Disease Genomic Epidemiology Workshop, part of the Canadian Bioinformatics Workshop Series, presented by 

A cohort of 40 learners interested in infectious disease bioinformatics — an interdisciplinary science involving the collection and analysis of complex biological data, such as genetic information — will come to the five-day workshop being held May 13-17.  

Attendees will include senior PhD candidates, postdoctoral fellows, early-career researchers, government staff, and hospital workers from across the country.  

“Being selected as a host site for this important workshop is validation of McMaster’s position as a national resource for infectious disease bioinformatics expertise and infrastructure,” says Andrew McArthur, a professor in McMaster’s department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and the local lead for the event.  

The conference is designed as a “distributed workshop,” says McArthur, who will teach the antimicrobial resistance module. That means participants at both locations will get the full workshop experience — those at McMaster will have remote access to Simon Fraser-based activities, and vice versa.  

The goal is to provide all learners with as much information and practical experience as possible, given the growing demand for bioinformatics expertise in the workforce.  

Through special lectures and hands-on tech tutorials, participants can expect to leave the workshop with new skills in the areas of high-throughput sequencing, data-based pathogen surveillance, metagenomics, and genomic epidemiology.  

“Having more people in Canada who are trained in these areas will allow us to respond quickly to emerging infectious disease outbreaks, and to do so in a data-driven way,” says McArthur, a member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research 

“These Canadian Bioinformatics Workshops are a great way to ensure that we have highly qualified personnel spread throughout the country.”  

McMaster’s role as host this year may help attract future Canadian Bioinformatics Workshops to the university, McArthur says. 

“McMaster has no doubt emerged as a leader in genomics and bioinformatics, and I’m delighted that we’ve been given the chance to showcase our leadership on the national stage.”  

 The McMaster portion of this year’s workshop will be held at the David Braley Health Sciences Centre in downtown Hamilton. Click here for more information 

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