To single cell RNA-sequencing data and beyond: a tale of a successful webinar

Single-cell RNA sequencing can reveal complex and rare cell populations, uncover regulatory relationships between genes, and track the trajectories of distinct cell lineages in development. The African Centre for Gene Technologies (ACGT) and researchers from the ETH University of Zürich co-hosted a webinar titled “Differential analyses and beyond for single cell RNA-sequencing data” on 3 November 2021.

In this webinar, Professor Mark Robinson shared his expertise in the field and demonstrated various strategies for differential analyses from multi-sample, multi-group single cell RNA-sequencing data. Prof Robinson’s research interests are in the application of statistical methods and data science to experimental data with biological applications within the context of genomics data types. Prof Robinson’s talk was followed by a presentation from Dr Simone Tiberi  who focused on key considerations of single cell RNA sequencing data, specifically focusing on quality control and RNA velocities. Dr Tiberi has interests in the development of cutting-edge statistical methods in bioinformatics, mostly for bulk and single-cell RNA Seq data.

A total of 40 delegates registered for the event, representing various South African Universities and science councils. The delegates hailed from diverse backgrounds, including agricultural, medical and veterinary sciences. The two presentations were followed by a stimulating discussion session from various viewpoints.

Single-cell RNA Seq methodology has previously been deployed in the country, hence a hands-on data analyses workshop was also co-hosted by the ACGT and ETH Zürich in 2019 in Pretoria.  Unfortunately, an event could not be hosted in 2020 due to the pandemic. Transcriptomics analyses remains a rich area of growth for South Africa and the continent and the community can look forward to further follow-up events, as well as how transcriptomics interlinks and complements other “omics” approaches.

The ACGT would like to credit the success of this event to the generosity of researchers from the Institute of Molecular Life Sciences at the University of Zürich in Switzerland: Professor Robinson and Dr Tiberi. The ACGT hopes that everyone who attended the webinar benefited in one way or another. The ACGT will continue to explore other topics in RNA Seq technologies that could be beneficial to members in the ACGT partnership and those who are active in these areas.
For more information, please contact Mr Molati Nonyane at or Tel: 012 420 6139.