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CCTR and VCU Libraries collaborate on new bioinformatics series June 6-10

June 10, 2016

VCU Libraries and the VCU C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) collaborated on creating and teaching a new series of workshops June 6-10. The sessions, for 30 attendees each, were designed to introduce researchers to genetic and genomic databases. Databases and tools discussed in the series included NCBI Gene, NCBI BLAST, NCBI Variation Viewer, NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, The Cancer Genome Atlas and the newly launched Genomic Data Commons. Researchers who attended four of the five sessions and completed the workshop activities received a Certificate of Completion.

Amy Olex and Aaron Wolen from the CCTR and Karen Gau and Julie Arendt from VCU Libraries led the workshops. 

The center has a grant (No. UL1TR000058) from the National Institutes of Health with the goal of speeding up the translation of the results of laboratory research to treatments for patients. The CCTR provides specialized expertise and facilities for researchers.

It also offers formal and informal educational programs for students and faculty. Last fall, the CCTR presented its Bioinformatics 101 Seminar Series that introduced bioinformatics methods and applications to a diverse audience. VCU Libraries also offers in-class and informal workshops for students and researchers. With the goal of expanding its specialized services for researchers, VCU Libraries sent librarians Gau and Arendt to an intensive training on NCBI bioinformatics databases. Gau and Arendt offered a series of webinars on use and navigation of these databases last summer.

Conversations between VCU Libraries and the CCTR resulted in the development of the June sessions, Bioinformatics 102, which explored the topic more deeply. Registrations for the workshop were at capacity. 

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Bioinformatics is a field that has been developing over the last 30 years. It represents a marriage between biological and computational technologies. Today, bioinformatics encompasses all aspects of the application of computer technologies to biological data. Computers are used to organize, link, analyze and visualize complex sets of biological data.                                

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