Report on “Establishing Microbial Sequencing and Bioinformatics Capacity in Challenging Environments”

In January 2020, microbiologists and bioinformaticians from West Asia, West Africa and from the UK participated in an MRC CLIMB workshop on “Establishing Sequencing and Bioinformatics Capacity in Challenging Environments”.

Delegates came from a range of institutions, including the Quadram Institute, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the University of Surrey, the University of Birmingham, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (Weybridge), the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (Belfast), al-Quds University, the Arab American University and the Lebanese American University.

Our cloud computing administrator Radoslaw Poplawski spoke about the CLIMB experience of establishing cloud computing for the UK microbiology community and CLIMB research fellow Nick Loman spoke about the UKRI-funded MicrobesNG sequencing service.

One key take-away message from the meeting was that the sequencing landscape is changing very quickly, with the arrival of cheap outsourced Illumina sequencing and improved accuracy of long-read sequencing.

The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to see the work of the MRC unit in the Gambia and for current (Radoslaw Poplawski) and former (Maciej Folicha) CLIMB staff to engage in skills and knowledge transfer with their equivalents in the Gambia.