ACGT and UJ host second open-source Metabolomics workshop for partnership

A highly successful Metabolomics workshop was hosted by the ACGT and the University of Johannesburg from 6 to 10 March 2017 at the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB). This event built on the first open-source metabolomics workshop, also facilitated by ACGT and UJ in 2016, and is based on the European EMBL course.

A number of European metabolomics experts returned to facilitate the event, and a number of new experts also joined the facilitation team. These included (Europe): Dr Reza Salek (University of Cambridge), Drs Karl Burgess, Naomi Rankin and Justin van der Hooft (University of Glasgow), Dr Jos Hageman (Wageningen University) and Dr Fabien Jourdan (INRA, France). Local trainers included Drs Fidele Tugizimana and Edwin Madala from the University of Johannesburg.

The theme of the workshop was Study Design, Informatics and Statistics and included numerous lectures as well as hands-on data analysis and statistics sessions. An internet-based participatory quiz at the end of each session allowed participants to test their knowledge in a very informal manner, and was received very well by the delegates.

The response to the workshop registration was overwhelming and not all delegates could be accommodated due to space constraints. Those who did take part in the workshop were representative of four of the five ACGT partner institutions and included principal investigators (UP, Wits, UJ) as well as post-graduate researchers (UP, CSIR and UJ).

Feedback received from the delegates was extremely positive. Herewith a few quotations from attendees:

  • It provides a week-long introduction to all the core concepts in Metabolomics. Both inexperienced and experienced practitioners of Metabolomics can benefit from attending the course.
  • The workshop facilitators were very professional; they also provided a lot of expert knowledge and guidance on metabolic analysis. They provided iterative educational activities and the workshop was wholly enjoyably.
  • ACGT deserves a medal for presenting course relevant to staff and students to increase the odds for success.

Metabolomics is a growing field in the partnership and country and following the Pretoria event, the facilitators hosted a shortened version of the workshop in Cape Town, at the University of Cape Town; where they were hosted by Professor Jonathan Blackburn.

Feedback from this event is being utilized to plan a training workshop in the field for 2018. It will in all likelihood be facilitated during the first quarter of 2018. Further news of the event will be circulated in due course.

The Centre would like to thank ThermoFisher and the French Embassy for financial assistance to enable the travel of Drs Karl Burgess, Naomi Rankin and Fabien Jourdan.

The Centre would also like to thank especially Dr Farhahna Allie and Ms Itseng Malao for organizing the workshop; and the facilitators for their time and effort invested in training South African researchers.