NERC-MDIBL Environmental Genomics and Metabolomics 2017


A NERC funded short course to guide genomics and metabolomics research applied to environmental science

For further information contact David Epps at

Date: TBC

Location: The University of Birmingham, UK

Number of places: up to 50

Participation: Open to everyone. 
Priority is given to NERC-funded PhD students and early-career scientists.

Bursaries: Twelve (12) bursaries are available for the metabolomics track and 18 for the genomics track, covering registration, travel and accommodations.

Costs for non-NERC funded researchers: Early bird £2105, standard £2340.

Course leaders: Professor John Colbourne, Dr Joseph Shaw, and Dr Xin Zhou will lead the genomics course. The metabolomics course will be lead by Professor Mark Viant and Dr Warwick Dunn and assisted by staff from the NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility and Birmingham Metabolomics Training Centre.

SETAC Europe
Endorsed by SETAC Europe

Research Organisations involved

University of Birmingham (UK), BGI China National GeneBank (Shenzhen, China), Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (USA)

For this Fourth annual training course in Environmental Genomics and Metabolomics, the curriculum is expanded to highlight a multi-omics (system biology) approach to research in environmental sciences. It trains PhD students and early career postdoctoral scientists to investigate how gene function and metabolism are influenced by environmental conditions while accounting for variation that exists within and among natural populations. The course is built on the paradigm that this multidisciplinary research field encompassing ecology, evolution, toxicology, biostatistics and informatics will most effectively grow by training early career environmental scientists to properly design comprehensive, large-scale, Next Generation Sequencing and Metabolomics experiments enabled by drastically increased sample-throughput and lower costs. Most importantly, the challenges of manipulating and analysing population-level omics (big) data must be addressed.

The course provides a significant introduction and much hands-on training experience so that participants can initiate their own environmental omics study and network with others in the field to launch Environmental Scientist careers in academia and industry. Case studies using multi-omics data sets collected at the University of Birmingham will be provided so that you can gain practical experience of analysing and integrating multi-omics data.

Daphnia is used for training because of its growing use as a model system in the environmental sciences and for improving environmental health protection, yet the skills learned during the course will be applicable to all study systems with mature genomics and metabolomics resources.

Evening Lecture Series

Distinguished visiting academics will provide keynote lectures on each day of the course to highlight environmental omic applications that draw on the expertise of our guest faculty.

Course Details

The course will include ~1.5 days of generic environmental omics training and ~3.5 days of specialised genomics or metabolomics training (parallel tracks).

The combined sessions will include:

  • Overviews of environmental genomics and metabolomics
  • Practical experience of analysing and integrating multi-omics data
  • Synthesis sessions to obtaining grant funding
  • Question and answer sessions with a panel of experts

The genomics track includes:

  • Library construction methods and QC
  • Introduction to automation systems and sequence data workflow
  • Software solutions for sequence workflows and their application in environmental research
  • RNA-seq alignment
  • Statistical considerations for analysing genome-scale data
  • Practical experience in applying open-source analysis tools to visualise complex sequence data and explore genome sequence variation, analyse Tuxedo output and perform gene set enrichment analysis
  • Synthesis sessions to explore using the most appropriate model organism and maximising outputs from your sequence data

The metabolomics track includes,

  • Experimental design
  • Quality assurance and quality control in metabolomics
  • Hands-on sample preparation
  • Analytical technologies including mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy
  • Data processing, including LC-MS and SIMS stitching procedures
  • Univariate and multivariate data analysis approaches
  • Metabolite identification 

Download the 2017 programme here

Registration for NERC funded scientists:

While this course is open to all researchers with an interest in the environmental scientists, it is a NERC-funded Advanced Training Short Course and hence priority is given to NERC-funded PhD students and early-career scientists.
Please note those participants from NERC funded positions are eligible for registration, travel and accommodation bursaries (maximum award £600). Participants will be informed if they have been awarded a bursary.

Registration for non-NERC funded scientists:

For non-NERC supported environmental scientists as well as scientists from outside of the UK you will be required to pay the course fee (detailed above) as well as your accommodation and travel. We are limited to a maximum of 50 places in total and a maximum of 16 places on the metabolomics course.

Please read the Birmingham Metabolomics Training Centre’s Conditions and Cancellation Policy prior to registering.