On July 30, 2019, Pine Biotech India team conducted an Amity University Bioinformatics Workshop at their Kolkata campus. In this workshop, the team worked with pilot participants of the Amity University Introduction to Bioinformatics Program on running the basic steps of RNA-seq, including pre-processing, mapping, quantification and differential gene expression. Over 40 students attended and were guided by our expert team as well as an intern who is currently completing his studies at the university. Dr. Chittabrata Mal, assistant professor at the Biotechnology department also shared from his experience in analysis of RNA-seq data from the past OmicsLogic online program conducted earlier this year.
After several online sessions and independent study using the edu.t-bio.info courses, students were applying their understanding to a cancer transcriptomic dataset, processing huge FASTQ files on the cloud server.t-bio.info platform. This type of infrastructure is allowing more and more students to take advantage of the rich data resources made available by the NCBI, TCGA and other projects.
The workshops are an important component of the OmicsLogic training program, designed to provide hands-on experience with high throughout (-omics) datasets to students of all backgrounds. For those already familiar with molecular biology concepts, data science skills are becoming more and more important. Demonstrable data science skills and experience can be a major way they can get involved in advanced research and gain important job skills for the future. For those with a computational background and interests, these kinds of sessions make the biological data that is growing at exponential rate in healthcare, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries more clear. Together, we were able to review the practical aspects of bioinformatics as well as the main challenges students can solve using these skills and methods.
After the workshop, we collected user feedback using a survey. We discovered that about 90% of the participants liked the lecture delivery, back-end support like communication emails and prompt response to their queries. The participants also enjoyed the hands-on activities conducted during the workshop. Almost 92% of the participants felt engaged and educationally satisfied with the course content at edu.t-bio.info. Similar number of participants felt comfortable using the analytical platform – server.t-bio.info. Combining these and other survey responses, we got an overall score of 4.5 out of 5 points.
This is what Ayushman Kumar Banerjee had to say:
Super glad about this initiative by Pine Biotech and Amit University Kolkata to create awareness and understanding in data science & IT among life sciences professionals. Because there exists a lack of basic computing skill amongst the core biologists, which hampers probable breakthroughs or delays the same due to an absence of relevant curriculum in our present conventional academia, which has not been able to merge life science with computing at the educational level even with such immense scope at the application level.
Ayushman as well as many others at Amity University are getting their first experience with the cutting edge tools and infrastructure supplied by Pine Biotech in this pilot program.