Bioinformatics of Insect Soup

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21 people went

Dept Medicine, Imperial College

Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG · London

How to find us

We are in Room G64A. Come into the passageway between buildings at the map location. Enter the building. If someone isn't at the security point, tell the guard you're there for the meeting and they will direct you through the gates and to the left.

Location image of event venue


18:30 – Arrival and Catch-ups

19:00 – NatureMetrics - Environmental Monitoring

While genomic bioinformatics is well-established as a tool in the medical world, it is also disrupting the murkier world of environmental monitoring.

Skilled experts have been peering down microscopes and dissecting insect genitalia for hundreds of years, but their skills are dying out at the same time as the need for large-scale monitoring of biological communities is growing: invasive species cause ecological and economic devastation; the distributions of pests and disease vectors are shifting with climate change; pollinators are showing alarming declines; and human industry is placing unprecedented pressure on natural systems, driving global biodiversity declines.

NGS methods enable monitoring of species diversity at unprecedented scales – whole communities of invertebrates and plants can be homogenised and sequenced in a single reaction, water can be sequenced to survey fish, and mosquitoes & leeches become super-efficient survey tools for the mammals they’ve fed on. But accurate ecological data is highly dependent on the bioinformatics used to denoising the NGS data, establish the genetic boundaries between species, and match sequences against incomplete reference databases to make identifications.

Prof. Doug Yu is an ecologist who was among the first to apply these methods to biodiversity assessment. He is now at the cutting edge of research in ecological genomics and co-founder of DNA-based biomonitoring startup NatureMetrics

19:25 - Group Discussion (Opportunity to discuss any bioinformatic challenges you are facing with the group)

19:40 – Upcoming events and wrap up.

19:55 – Social drink in nearby pub