Lessons from a 2-hub life-science training course: from Heidelberg to Bangalore and beyond – Course and Conference Office


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Lessons from a 2-hub life-science training course: from Heidelberg to Bangalore and beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic affected all aspects of our daily lives, including what it means to be part of a scientific community and how we interact and work with each other. However, thanks to advances in technology and availability of different software tools and equipment, virtualisation has steadily become a part of our everyday lives and at EMBL, we made our training courses and conferences virtual during this unprecedented time to continue the scientific exchange with and within our communities.

In the next step, we decided to apply our new knowledge of virtual technology to deliver a wider reaching course: together with the scientific organizers, we organized the EMBO Practical Course ‘Metabolite and species dynamics in microbial communities’ as a 2-hub course, meaning it took place simultaneously at EMBL Heidelberg, Germany, as well as at BLiSC in Bangalore, India, in October 2022, in a hybrid format.

On top: the Bangalore group, below: the Heidelberg group

With hands-on experimental and computational practical sessions, streamed lectures, intra- and inter-hub networking activities, we created a unique learning experience for our course participants at both the European and the Asian hubs. They followed complete experimental workflows from the set-up of kefir culture, time point sampling, genomic DNA extraction to 16S rDNA library preparation and sequencing using Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT), metabolomics analysis by mass spectrometry, and interaction mapping plating experiments, all based on publication by Blasche et al. (2021).

Thanks to the 2-hub concept, we created a sustainable, inclusive, and sophisticated active-learner course with a more efficient world-wide reach and we empowered young international scientists by training them on the newest developments in the field of microbial communities.

If you would like to read about our journey, from the idea to execution, please read the publication here.

The next edition of this course will take place 13 – 18 October 2024. Want to join? Click here.