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Gaining informatics skills to support translational cancer research: Canadian Bioinformatics Workshop on Cancer Genomics 2014

Michelle Brazas

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Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
As for other aspects of human and health research, bioinformatics skills play a fundamental role in cancer research today, particularly given the complex biology of the cancer genome and the introduction of many high-throughput technologies into cancer research projects. Cancer researchers are increasingly seeking computational skills to aid analysis, comprehension and translation of their research. However, acquiring this level of advanced bioinformatics skills specific to the uniqueness of the cancer genome is challenging because adequate training programs do not exist. The Canadian Bioinformatics Workshops (CBW) proposal herein seeks to disseminate its leading edge bioinformatics knowledge and skills to cancer researchers through a cancer-specific workshop. The CBW is seeking $25,000 in support from the CIHR to host a Bioinformatics for Cancer Genomics (BiCG) workshop in 2014 and specifically, to sponsor trainee attendance at the workshop. The flagship BiCG workshop is a 5-day intensive, hands-on workshop designed to guide researchers through the key bioinformatics concepts and tools required to analyze cancer genomic data sets. Participants will gain experience in genomic data visualization tools, which are applied throughout the development of the skills required to analyze cancer -omic data for gene expression, genome rearrangement, somatic mutations and copy number variation. Strategies for pathway analysis and functional evaluation on the resultant cancer variant list and integration of clinical data will also be provided. By providing a comprehensive program in cancer-specific bioinformatics tools, the BiCG workshop has shown to enhance the informatic skill set of the cancer research community in Canada, thereby enabling translational cancer research and personalized cancer therapy discoveries.

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