Retreat and revive

Every year graduate students and post-docs at WTCHG have the opportunity to down pipettes and head off into the countryside for a couple of days of intensive talks, practical exercises and team-building, all aimed at building cohesiveness in the research community and practising ‘soft skills’. Patrick Albers, a student in the McVean and McCarthy groups, was one of this year’s organisers.

Group shot by the lake (Suzanne Snellenberg)

Group shot by the lake (Suzanne Snellenberg)

This year the Centre’s Student and Post-Doc Retreat (24-25th June) took place in Cirencester, at the Royal Agricultural University, in the Cotswolds. The Centre invited graduate students and post-docs from all its research groups, with transport, food and accommodation all provided free (including generous quantities of drinks in the bar). Continue reading

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Facing our public: WTCHG at the Cheltenham Science Festival

Public Engagement Officer Brian Mackenwells spent a week with a rolling cast of volunteers from NDM in the Discover Zone at Cheltenham Science Festival earlier this month. The Taylor and Knight groups did their bit for WTCHG

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Schoolchildren get to work on DNA extraction, aided by volunteers from WTCHG

How many DNA bracelets could we make in a day? How many strawberries could be squished? And how many people could we get to make a disgusted face? These were the questions we faced as two groups from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics – the Taylor and Knight groups – stretched their communication muscles, and had some fun, at the Cheltenham Science Festival. Continue reading

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Clinical genome sequencing goes national

The results of the WGS500 project have just been published. Here Dr Jenny Taylor, who is Programme Director of the Genomics Medicine Theme of the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), explains how WGS500 was a forerunner of the Genomics England initiative.

DNA double helix with dataOxford is one of eleven locations that Genomics England Ltd (GEL) has chosen to host a Genomic Medicine Centre, which will be responsible for recruiting patients for the main phase of the 100,000 genomes project. Up till now GEL has been supporting pilot projects in rare diseases and cancer. Through the WGS500 project, a joint project of WTCHG and the Genomics Medicine Theme of the BRC, Oxford has been closely involved in these pilot programmes. Continue reading

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Keeping pace with changing parasite genetics

Malaria parasites adapt at a frightening rate. To mark World Malaria Day on 25 April 2015, Roberto Amato describes a new global collaboration that has compiled the largest collection of open access P. falciparum genomes and is using this resource to try and keep up. (Cross-posted from the Sanger blog.)

Plasmodium falciparum parasites are responsible for the majority of over 500,000 malarial deaths every year. An adaptive foe, these parasites can hide from the body’s immune system, cope with changes in the Anopheles (mosquito) vector, and develop resistance to antimalarial drugs, at a frightening rate. Continue reading

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The genetic roots of modern America

George Busby describes the findings of a recent international study of genetically mixed populations in North and South America

Christopher Columbus encounters the indigenous people of the Bahamas in 1492. (After an engraving by Thomas de Bry, 1590)

Christopher Columbus encounters the indigenous people of the Bahamas in 1492. (After an engraving by Thomas de Bry, 1590)

Ten thousand years after the first Americans spread into the continent by a northern route from Asia, explorers from western European countries sailed the ocean blue in search of new territories and gold. When they reached the New World the Europeans got to work by first founding villages and towns, and later plantations and colonies, where African slaves were shipped in to perform the hard manual labour required to generate the large quantities of produce that were sent back to Europe in return for cash. Continue reading

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