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Cambridge Metagenomics Challenge - Workshop (1)

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Abigail W. and Jenny M.
Cambridge Metagenomics Challenge - Workshop (1)


What's really in the River Cam? In the Cambridge Metagenomics Challenge, you can be part of an exciting citizen science project attempting to solve this question. In the process, you'll learn about cutting-edge DNA sequencing techniques and how we apply them to real-world environmental questions.


PuntSeq ( are a local Cambridge organisation with a mission to monitor the water quality of the Cam. By utilising a small and portable real-time DNA analyzer, Oxford Nanopore’s MinION, the project tracks bacterial communities at nine different spots along the Cam trajectory within, upstream and downstream of Cambridge. This exciting work was recently covered by the BBC and Cambridge 105 FM (

By working together with Biomakespace, Cambridge's public community biology lab, we are offering 18 participants the unique opportunity to join us for field sampling, followed by a participatory demonstration of DNA extraction and sequencing. In a second session, we will then amplify the extracted DNA and prepare it for sequencing. The results and species identifications will be analysed and publicly presented by the PuntSeq team.



  1. Morning: Meet at the Granta Mill Pond (see Meetup map pin)
  2. Afternoon: Biomakespace Cambridge, (

Agenda - Workshop 1 (10-5pm)
10 - 10:30: Meet at the Granta for welcome and initial briefing.
10:30 - 13:00: Riverside fieldwork: We will split into 3 groups, taking the South, North and Central Cambridge locations to acquire water samples. Some groups will take longer than others; once the samples are acquired, you are free to break for lunch and/or to travel to the Biomakespace lab.
13 - 14:00: Lunch break and travel time for all.
14:00-17:00: At Biomakespace, on the Addenbrooke's Biomedical Campus. DNA filtration and extraction, along with an introduction to PuntSeq's past results. Coffee & Tea breaks included.

Agenda - Workshop 2 (10-4pm)
This session focuses on DNA amplification using PCR and loading the Oxford Nanopore minION sequencer. See Meetup Event #2 ( for detailed program. Coffee & Tea breaks included.



  • You must be aged 18 or over, or be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

  • You must be able to attend both workshops (Sunday 28th July, Sunday 11th August.)

If we receive more than 18 applications, participants will be selected by the PuntSeq/Biomakespace team based on your application form.


We are asking for a participant contribution of £48 per person, to be paid in advance either by bank transfer or by direct debit via GoCardless.

This is to cover the cost of the sequencer flow cell (£720) and bacterial community standard (£150) consummables; we are providing all other lab reagents, equipment and demonstrator time free of charge. If this is an insurmountable barrier to attendance, we are looking to offer a small number of concessions places (if possible), so please do indicate this on your application form.


We have space to transport up to 6 people by car from the riverside fieldwork locations to the Biomakespace workshop on the Addenbrookes Campus. These places will be allocated in priority to those with accessibility needs, so please indicate this on your form if needed. Other participants will be expected to make their own way by public transport, bike or car.

14 Newnham Road · Cambridge
15 spots left