The Fred Hutch Data Science Lab recently hosted the seventh symposium for the Genomic Data Science Community Network (GDSCN). On August 15, 26 GDSCN community members, guests, and organizers gathered to discuss the past year’s successes and upcoming plans. A major highlight of the meeting was hearing all about the research, grant proposals, and education and training programs the network runs! Some notable highlights include Sourav Roy’s UTEP successful grant proposal “AnVIL/Velsera-CGC interoperability project to study the genetic and transcriptomic contributions towards Hispanic colorectal cancer health disparities”, Rosa Alcazar’s Clovis Community College work on modernizing biology curricula by incorporating biological databases as part of C-MOOR, and updates on Maria Alvarez and Carolina Chianelli’s El Paso Community College extremely successful Rise to the Challenge Bridge to Health- and Bioinformatics program. Andrew Lee Northern Virginia Community College also updated the network on an R25 for Entry-Level Modules that he submitted with Karla Fuller Guttman Community College, Rosa Alvarez and Stephanie Coffman Clovis Community College, and Ava Hoffman and Elizabeth Humphries (FH DaSL). Finally, Mentewab Ayalew Spelman College discussed a manuscript on using microbiome data in the classroom that is being written collaboratively by members of the GDSCN.
Symposium 7 also marked the kickoff of a new collaborative research project at the intersection of genomics, data science, cloud computing, and education. Research experiences play an integral role in STEM education by enhancing students’ learning, engagement, and propensity to pursue related careers. However, securing hands-on opportunities remains a challenge for many institutions, especially those lacking robust research infrastructure and funding. The GDSCN is addressing this challenge with a project using genomics and data science to study soil microbe responses to heavy metal contamination. At Symposium 7, attendees heard about the pilot work that was completed in June 2023. They also had a chance to participate in a sample collection effort on the Fred Hutch campus. You can follow the project’s progress at https://gdscnsoil.fredhutch.org.
The GDSCN is a consortium of educators who are dedicated to expanding genomic data science and bioinformatics education to students at typically underresourced institutions including community colleges, HBCUs, tribal colleges and universities, and Hispanic-serving institutions. They are supported by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center Data Science Lab, Johns Hopkins University, and the National Human Genome Research Institute. If you’d like to learn more about it, take a look at the website at https://www.gdscn.org/home.