Bioinformatics Big Data Workshop

Bioinformatics Big Data Workshop

On April 22, 2019, Dr. Trupti Joshi’s lab hosted the Bioinformatics Big Data Workshop in Cornell Hall at the University of Missouri. Although most of the 38 individuals attended in person, accommodations were made for those who were off-site with an online interactive video link. Participants included faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduates from the University of Missouri, Rutgers University, the University of Washington and Whitman College. Their expertise areas ranged from biological sciences, biochemistry and plant science to computer science, genetics and informatics.

The workshop was designed for two National Science Foundation projects Joshi works on: Physiological Genomics of Maize Nodal Root Growth under Drought and Genomic and Synthetic Approaches Linking Auxin Signaling to Functional Domains in Maize.

The primary focus of the workshop was teaching participants how to analyze genomics and multiomics data using the Knowledge Base Commons (KBCommons) bioinformatics database developed in-house by Joshi’s lab. Bioinformatics combines biology, computer science, mathematics and statistics to analyze and interpret complex biological data, and helps researchers find patterns and relationships in massive amounts of data.

Joshi designed the workshop so researchers can better understand how to use the latest bioinformatics technologies in this rapidly growing and changing field.

“These tools help researchers utilize the huge amounts of data from their experiments and make a more detailed analysis and gain insights about the conditions being studied,” Joshi said.

Through this workshop, Joshi wanted to introduce participants to the tools and analytic capabilities of the database, and also get feedback about other tools that are needed for further research and analysis of the existing data.

By using KBCommons, researchers on our grant can compare the genetics of drought stressed maize nodal root systems with a control group of healthy, well-watered corn, both from lab and field studies. They can then see genes changing between the two groups and how each gene functions.

Researchers can use the information about these differences to manipulate these genes in the lab and analyze how such changes affect the plant’s response to drought.

KBCommons is not limited to genetic information from corn. It’s designed to be generalizable across organisms, so the database also has information from other plants, animals, bacteria, viruses, diseases, and even humans.

This workshop was a broader impact of the grant, designed to provide cross-disciplinary hands-on training for the various labs across campus performing experiments and Joshi’s lab.

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