Frescos & freakishly fun genomics, the close of Evomics2014

It has been a wild two weeks filled with much beer drinking, meat…meat and more meat, genomics, metagenomics, transcriptomics, population genomics, phylogenomics….heranomics, thereanomics, everywhereomicsomics…

I hope everyone had a great learning experience and were able to garner some knowledge to ponder as you head back to your universities or institutions, now armed with um…a lot of swirling information.

Please know the website stays up, the blogs stay up, the instance will GO DEAD/TERMINATION, AH! this weekend.


If you particularly connected with anyone at the workshop we encourage you to keep up your collaborations and connections, the participants can be found on the participants page.

The faculty can be found on the Faculty Page.

The Instructors on the Instructors Page.

Remember, ‘No man is an island’…collaborate and learn from your peers/colleagues and mentors you met at the workshop. Sure everyone’s busy but we all love doing science and meeting/collaborating with others who share our passion.

You can follow many of the faculty on twitter, see my start up post on this…

And of course there is the facebook page.

It has been a long two weeks, jam packed with beer, wine, sequencing, programs like RAD and new sequencing technologies like CrapBio and Zer0-Molecule sequencing, genomics, scary math, oddly named software, tutorials galore, unix ninjas and sequencing gurus, enough ‘considerations’ to have us spinning for years to come and an introduction to sex, drugs and genomics ala Neil Hall…so lets rehash the glory a little bit shall we?

Of life, love, linux and latent twitching…

  • Mike Zody is a sequencing guru
  • Manuel ascends the RNA-seq wall with god-like powers
  • Julian Catchen is a unix ninja
  • Bioinformatics software is moody…no seriously, there is some massive PMS going on in some software packages.
  • Patience!
  • Don’t touch the frescos
  • Seriously…the painter is dead…don’t touch the frescos
  • Bioinformatics is FUN!
  • Programming is FUN!
  • Unix is FUN!…at this point you were probably wondered if your instructors were high.
  • “If you are typing, you are doing it wrong” ~Julian Catchen
  • Seriously…don’t touch the frescos
  • CrapBio
  • SHTseq
  • Big Bloody Data
  • Technologically advanced guesswork
  • Guy Leonard is a BEAST…EVERY night out and EVERY morning bright eyed and bushy tailed ready for the next genomic inspiration
  • Ok…maybe not that bright eyed
  • …or bushy tailed
  • But damnit he showed up!
  • There are A LOT of programs
  • There is no ‘right’ answer nor ‘right’ way to do things, test everything, compare and make an educated choice.
  • Sophie likes owls…whoooo
  • “Sequencing means nothing without biological and evolutionary context”
  • Watch your phred score interpretation! It’ll depend on platform.
  • Wouldn’t it be nice to have an Ikea catalog for bioinformatics?
  • “It all depends”
  • “What is your question?”
  • “Crap in crap out”
  • Ctrl+V, tab
  • Neil nearly called security on Fred Sanger…Fred Sanger!
  • Nick Tweets alot
  • Nick wants more followers
  • Follow Nick
  • There are lots of buttons to push, but no push button solution ~Mel
  • QIIME is pretty
  • Biologists like pretty pictures
  • Always consider normalizing your data
  • What you see is not always what you get in publications, replicate, compare, validate!
  • Sex, drugs and genomics
  • Neil refusing to give his presentation through interpretive dance when the projector failed
  • You don’t have to be superman…remember at the end of the day you are a biologist.
  • I feel like I’ve been to a workshop full of Keynote addresses and TEDx talks!
  • It snowed at the end of the workshop, no snow ball fights this year but plenty of merriment anyway!

This was also our first year running a twitter hash on #evomics2014…lets see how we did shall we?

It’s been real Evomics 2014. I hope everyone took something away from this years intense bout of genomics and I hope everyone feels they are just a little bit more prepared for the wet and wild future of bioinformatics in next generation sequencing.

Many happy thoughts and best of luck in your research endeavors.

I’d like to finish with a heartfelt thanks to the Workshop on Genomics organizers: Naiara, Karin, Konrad and Scott for inviting me to come back again this year and instruct as well as regale you all with tales of genomics recapped from sessions and general shenanigans. I hope this blog proves useful in the future when you start leveling off from the chaos and can revisit some of the topics, considerations and suggestions which will hopefully prove useful to everyone in their scientific development. So thank you for allowing me to blog and share the amazing science we all do.

I’d also like to levy a very warm thank you to all the Faculty who put up with me chasing them around with thumb drives and emails for their talks and specifically to: Rob Knight, Nick Loman, Mike Zody, Bill Cresko, Chris Wheat and Neil Hall who were generous enough with their time and their science to share with me why genomics is so awesome and challenging. I hope you all got to know them better through their faculty highlights. They are amazing scientists and generally fabulous manifestations of humanity…I enjoyed every moment I was able to procure with all of them and the other faculty and instructors.

Sophie, Guy, Dag, Anders, Adam, Daniel –instructors extraordinaires and Guy for his neverending determination at being out every night until all hours then being ready to make science happen the following morning with all the good cheer musterable for one whose only procured 3 hrs of sleep and is twitching from the coffee he usually never drinks. I will miss you all.

I myself will be signing off as blogger now…headed to a much belated honeymoon with the husband…I have until the end of this bus ride to finish this last blog. At which point my laptop will go dark for a week. 🙂 If you liked the blog, do let us know; and if you are getting into blogs head over to my work blog site: I don’t post often as I only post when I have something to share, BUT there is a listing on my blog of every blog I read/follow, Nick Loman is apart of that group as well as Mick Watson’s blog and so many others. So I encourage you to peruse the list and see what fits your interests.

Finally, I myself most identified with what Neil spoke to me about at dinner and what he reiterated in his talk…I struggle to be bipolar if you will –both super biologist and super informaticist and I’ve come to the realization that it’s perfectly fine to not ‘be everything’. But rather be willing to learn, know your data, communicate in many ‘scienfitic languages’ and never forget  you are a biologist.

So I’ve asked every faculty I’ve interviewed what they considered themselves and I got a myriad of different answers with only one (Nick) actually calling himself a bioinformaticist. We all consider ourselves different things, but we are all interdisciplinary hopefully in our understanding and that will allow us to adapt as the field does.

What am I? I am a microbial/viral ecologist who uses bioinformatics in her research to answer hypotheses and further her scientific field…and I am so honored to have been able to meet all you, work with all of you and be apart of such a great workshop.

Kindest Regards to All,

…Dr. Mel signing off

Melanie Melendrez, Ph.D.
Chief, Bioinformatics, Lead Scientist
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
Viral Diseases Branch
Silver Spring, MD 20910