The UCE Phylogenomics Workshop for year 2 of our National Science Foundation grant (NSF-DEB 2127744) was held at the Bee Lab at the Utah State University campus in Logan, UT (it will be held at Washington State University in year 4). The workshop ran from June 4 – 11, 2023, with 12 participants and five instructors. It was designed to serve graduate students, post-docs, and/or faculty members seeking to enhance their knowledge and skills in developing phylogenomic datasets.
The week was fun and info-packed! Participants were provided with comprehensive training and hands-on experience in the latest methodologies and techniques relevant to obtaining and analyzing ultraconserved elements. Through a combination of lectures, lab experiences, and practical tutorials and exercises, attendees gained an understanding of the UCE workflow – from DNA extraction and steps in library preparation, to the bioinformatic pipeline and preparing data for a comparative analysis in R.
The instructors think that we were successful in having an environment of active learning, engagement, and knowledge exchange. Participants had the opportunity to meet scientific peers, allowing for valuable networking and collaboration opportunities. We surveyed the attendees on the first and last days to gauge impact of the workshop, and the feedback was positive. Participants reported an increase in skills and knowledge, and some of the highest impact areas were: 1) understanding of the Phyluce pipeline (used to process UCE data), 2) describing the purpose of a bead clean step, and 3) knowing the difference between a concatenated and a coalescent phylogenetic analysis. Stay tuned for 2025, when we host the UCE Phylogenomics Workshop in Pullman, WA! Also great news - there are NSF funds to help support travel and meals.