The Microbiome Insights team was pleased to visit Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing on Emory University campus in August to lead a 2-day workshop on methods for microbiome analysis: both 16S rRNA gene sequencing and shotgun metagenomics. With a growing awareness that microbiome analysis may be worthwhile to include in diverse areas of study, the workshop aimed to give researchers the knowledge to tackle microbiome analysis – whether they set out to do it on their own or outsource the analysis.
"We want to be a resource for researchers who are thinking about including microbiome analysis in their study," says Dr. Pedro Dimitriu, Senior Director of Bioinformatics at Microbiome Insights. "Our lab is in a unique position, having analyzed tens of thousands of microbiome samples for different purposes. Not only can we share what yields the most robust data in various situations, but we can also update researchers on the latest bioinformatic approaches, which take into account the microbes' ecological context."
Microbiome Insights’ Dr. Pedro Dimitriu kicked off the workshop with an overview of microbiome study design and best practices for 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Dr. Erick Cardenas continued with a presentation covering the basics of shotgun metagenome sequencing and analysis. Dimitriu wrapped up the session with participant-led analyses of case studies and a discussion of microbiome data visualization.
Workshop organizer Steve Pittard, Senior Technical Project Manager at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, says, "The speakers were clearly knowledgeable, and in particular the ‘case studies’ section was helpful in outlining the necessary considerations one should make when initiating a microbiome analysis. The program provided helpful detailed technical information which remained accessible to those less experienced in bioinformatics-led investigations.”
The workshop was developed in response to a growing demand for microbiome knowledge; the Emory School of Nursing workshop was tailored to emphasize the role of the microbiome in human health.
"The learning curve is steep for someone who wants to include microbiome analysis in their study," says Dr. William Mohn, UBC professor and scientific co-founder of Microbiome Insights. "We want to equip researchers with some basic know-how so they are able to make the most of their research budget when deciding to include microbiome analysis. We can also help them with study design, if they wish."