Guest post: 100 advanced courses
Since 1988, the Wellcome Trust Advanced Courses programme has been training scientists from all over the world in the latest biomedical techniques and data-analysis tools. With their 100th course just completed, Joy Friesner, Scientific Administrator for Wellcome Trust Advanced Courses, looks back on what the programme has achieved and what’s next.
The Wellcome Trust Advanced Courses has reached the big 100! Last month, our 100th course, on ‘Next Generation Sequencing’, took place at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus at Hinxton near Cambridge.
Over the past 22 years, the programme has helped to train over 3000 scientists and clinicians from 94 countries in the latest biomedical techniques and computer-based data analysis tools.
The programme was started by Pelin Faik, a scientist with a lab at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London. She noticed a real need for top quality training in biomedical techniques and thus the Advanced Courses was born. The idea was to provide training on the latest techniques in genomics and molecular biology for senior PhD students, postdocs and clinicians, boosting scientific research. There were just four courses at the start, but since then the programme has expanded dramatically both at Hinxton and abroad.
Today, the courses cover a broad range of biomedical disciplines and – thanks to the support of an army of world-class instructors, assistants and speakers – remain very much at the cutting edge. The early programme included courses such as ’DNA Related Methods in Human Genetics: YAC cloning in Genome Analysis’, ‘Molecular Parasitology’, ’Gene Targeting and Homologous Recombination’ and ‘Human Genome Analysis: Genetic Analysis of Multifactorial Diseases’. And as the techniques and technologies have advanced so have the courses. The current programme includes courses such as ‘Technologies and Applications for Genome Analysis’ and the aforementioned ‘Next Generation Sequencing’.
Instructors and participants come from all four corners of the globe and an important part of the programme is the courses and workshops which are run overseas. We held our first overseas workshop – on ’Accessing the Human Genome Sequence’ – in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2006. Since then 10 overseas workshops have taken place and we’ve run courses at the Trust’s Major Overseas Programme units in Kenya, Malawi, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as institutes in India and Uruguay. And it’s not just the computer-analysis workshops that travel: our first overseas laboratory course ‘Molecular Approaches to Clinical Microbiology in Africa’ ran in May last year in Blantyre, Malawi, and is due to return in 2011.
With around 22 courses a year in the Advanced Courses programme, our work is pretty much nonstop! But it’s worth it to share the latest scientific knowledge with researchers around the world. Our 102nd course, ‘Design and Analysis of Genetic-based Association Studies’ is due to start later on this month. Roll on the next 100!