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Everyone gathering excitedly on the first day for the traditional one-minute-slides-pizza-and-beer session

Population genomics workshop concluded successfully! (after some challenges)

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We concluded our latest installment of the Haifa winter workshop in genomics and bioinformatics – the 9th actually! (see more info about the workshops under teaching) As always, the workshop was co-organized by Daniel Sher, Maya Lalzar, and Eyal. This time we focused on population genomics, which is the speciality of our lab. As always, we had ~50 grad students and postdocs from all Israeli universities. These workshops always attract talented and motivated bunch of people, which is such a pleasure!

We also had super intereseting invited talks from some of the real experts in population genomics in Israel and abroad. Sariel Hübner (MIGAL) told us about the state of the art in pangenome analysis approaches. Ilan Gronau (Reichman U) explained how ARGs (ancestral recombination graphs) are the powertools for pop-gen analysis. Both Sariel and Ilan reported that these advanced techniques are recently becoming more accessible for non-experts, which is exciting news! Viviane Slon (Tel Aviv U) told us about ancient DNA analysis and some of the coolest finds from the studies of admixture in ancient humans. Last but not least, Ayellet Segrè (Harvard) gave a super-packed lecture with everything we didn’t even know to ask about advanced GWAS methodologies and beyond the standard GWAS – eQTL, sQTL, and more!

It all worked out very nicely and we got lots of very positive feedback, but this workshop was especially challenging, with many obstacles along the way. We had to work in unusual conditions… we couldn’t have a computer classroom, or any other classroom or auditorium, because all rooms were taken by a maximally packed exam period because of the shortening of the acedemic year because of the war. So we gave the students a Linux virtual machine to install on their own laptops, which ended up being more challenging than expected…

The greatest load fell on Felix, who was the lead TA for this workshop. Normally we have 3 TAs, because these workshops require a lot of preparation. But due to budget cuts, Felix had to work even harder than normal. He did a great job! He did have help from Aparna (remotely) and Pnina, who are both very experienced with these pop-gen techniques and with teaching. Thanks team!