The DevCom Training Programme offered computational-, experimental- and soft complementary skills workshops, as well as one cross-over workshop integrating computational analysis and experimental design. DevCom workshops (WS) have been held at different locations, the resources and infrastructure of which has been matched to workshop requirements. Below we present an overview of the meetings and workshops that took please throughout the duration of the DevCom project, starting with the kick-off meeting in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) in the fall of 2013 until the final conference in Carmona (Spain) in the spring of 2017.
27-29 March 2017 - Carmona, Spain - International conference Gene Regulatory Systems in Development
This international meeting was the final of the DevCom consortium and was co-organized with another Marie Curie ITN, namely Zencode. 20 internationally renowned speakers were invited; additional oral presentations were from DevCom-fellows, Zencode members and selected from abstracts that were submitted by external participants. There was also a poster sessions. In total 129 scientists attended the meeting. There were lively discussions and the meeting offered ample opportunities for the DevCom fellows to interact with scientists in their research field.
23-26 February 2016 - Seville, Spain - soft skill and computational workshop and network meeting
During this 4 day event, hosted by partner UPO at their location in Seville, the focus was on data visualization (computational workshop) as well as on public communication. This latter had a focus on updating and initiating wikipedia pages. Topics that were addressed include: model system pages, pages on techniques like ATAC-seq, FAIRE-seq, RNA-seq, pages on specific genes and molecules. Since several of the fellows were getting closer to the end of their fellowship, they gave presentations on their results obtained.
22-26 June 2015 - London, UK - computational and cross-over workshop and mid-term review meeting
Organized by the Principal Investigators from the Francis Crick Institute and by the management team from Radboud University, this meeting had 3 days of workshops and 1 day for a mid-term review by an external expert appointed by the EU. The workshop focused on more complex methods of computational analysis which broadened the understanding of attendees with respect to what is possible, and introduce new tools and techniques. In particular the workshop also gave a look at machine learning methods and the use of Bayesian statistics. Moreover, attention was given to the impact on experimental design of the likely requirements of downstream computational analysis. This was an eye-opening workshop.
During the mid-term review all fellows presented their research and other activities for the duration of their fellowship so far and each of them spoke individually with the external expert to evaluate how their participation in the DevCom program was coming along, if everything was to satisfaction and that all rules and regulations of the EU were followed (this was indeed the case).
23-26 February 2015 - Paris, France - experimental and soft skill workshop and symposium on "Bridging the gap between developmental and computational biology"
The meeting in Paris was very succesful: not only was there are workshop on gene transfer and Xenopus iPS cells, but also was a full day dedicated to Technology transfer and entrepreneurship, to give the fellows a sense of how industrial partners in the DevCom network (CLCBio - now Qiagen - and Watchfrog) have their own research strategies and what a career in a company may be like. For the Symposium, invited speakers were: Boris Lenhard (imperial College), Jorge Ferrer (Imperial College), Patrick Lemaire (CNRS), Deborah Bourchis (Insitut Curie). For this meeting, also participants from outside the DevCom group attended.
3-7 November 2014 - Nijmegen, The Netherlands - computational, soft skill and experimental workshop
The 3rd extensive training event took place in November 2017. Topics that were presented included soft skill training in how to present your data (in several formats - oral and poster presentation) but also on ethical considerations when designing and performing research experiments that involve the use of animals. One full day was dedicated to learn more about analysis and statistical validation of high throughput data. Finally, an introduction was given into the use of proteomics in developmental biology. All fellows actively participated in the different workshops at Radboud University, which is home to three of the DevCom fellows
7-9 May, 2014 - London, UK - computational and soft skill workshop and network meeting
During the first day, all DevCom fellows presented there research plans and they attended a workshop on Career Development. In the following days, a computational workshop was given, which was highly appreciated by the fellows. It provided them with a good introduction to computational tools and data analysis. There was also ample of opportunity to interact with the other fellows and the Principal Investigators that were teachers in this workshop.
17-28 February 2014 - Seville, Spain - Experimental workshop
One of the important goals of the DevCom project is to train young researchers in the field of developmental and computational biology, and to prepare this generation for the emerging field of “New Biology” in which systems-level, quantitative and computational approaches are fully integrated in the analysis of profound scientific problems related to pluripotency and differentiation. The DevCom research plan revolves around early embryonic regulatory networks and disease networks in vertebrate embryos of the Xenopus and zebrafish model systems. During a 2 week course in Seville, the DevCom fellows received training in studies using zebrafish and Xenopus laevis as model organisms. This involved experimental set-up and analysis. All recruited fellows (in total ) participated in the course. Several of the Principal Investigators contributed to the teaching activities.
1-2 October 2013 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands - Kick-off meeting
The DevCom ITN partners met in Amsterdam, during the official kick-off of the project. All partners were present, and represented by at least 1 PI or Project Leader. In addition, some of the first ESRs to the network were able to attend. Prof. Gert Jan Veenstra (coordinator of the project) gave an opening speech. This was followed by presentations by all partners, introducing their scientific expertise and plans for DevCom. In addition, the first Supervisory Board meeting took place: the status of E(S)Rs recruitment was presented, followed by a discussion of The Network Training Committee and the IPR&TT Committee plans. The Consortium Agreement, FP7 regulations, recruitment and budgeting were also discussed.
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