The Art of Gene Expression Analysis (AGEA)
workshop at Mote TRL, June 12-28, 2013
 
Why?
Gene expression can be indicative of physiological condition, genetic background, long-term acclimatization, or evolutionary adaptation. All these aspects are of great interest for organismal biology and ecology, especially in the context of an organisms’ response to ongoing climate change. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies make it possible, and, in fact, very affordable, to profile global gene expression in any organism, whereas quantitative PCR (qPCR) is the golden standard for validating the results of NGS analysis. More and more high-profile studies are integrating gene expression analysis into traditional physiology and ecology  frameworks. To facilitate this process, we will hold a two-part workshop, during which we will introduce participants to wet-lab and dry-lab (bioinformatic) procedures associated with global gene expression profiling using a low-cost version of RNA-seq (Meyer et al, 2011) and qPCR.
 
Workshop description
The workshop will take place at the Mote Tropical Research Laboratory, and will use corals as our main subjects. The first part (June 12-21) will be devoted to RNA-seq. We will go through the library preparation procedures (starting with raw biological material) and then use a sequence dataset generated earlier to demonstrate the essential bioinformatic protocols. During the second part of the workshop (June 21-28) we will teach the theory and practice of qPCR, and apply it to analyze expression of several candidate genes. The samples for RNA-seq and qPCR analyses will come from an experiment conducted during the workshop to generate novel data, so there is an additional opportunity for the most actively involved participants to become co-authors on the forthcoming publication (see the results of our 2009 workshop published in PLoS ONE).
 
The detailed schedule of the workshop can be found here.
 
Prerequisites
The workshop aims at researchers at  or above graduate-level actively working in the field of animal physiology and ecology. Practical molecular biology experience, however limited, will be helpful, but is not required. People with earlier experience with RNA-seq and qPCR will be welcome, too: we use the latest wet-lab methods and analysis protocols developed in Matz lab, which would be very useful even for an experienced practitioner of The Art. You will need to bring your own laptop with installed R and (for PC users) SSH terminal application.
 
Costs
To ensure participation, be prepared to pay US $2,000 for the RNA-seq part, $1,500 for the qPCR part, or $3,200 for both parts combined. The cost includes accommodation, lab supplies, and facility fees, but does not cover travel and meals. Details on how to make the payment can be found here.
 
To enroll
By April 10, 2013, send an email with “AGEA 2013” in the subject line to the instructor (Mikhail “Misha” Matz, matz[at]utexas.edu), indicating your interest, and a short description of your research focus (or simply references to your relevant publications). Please specify how likely you are to participate, assuming that you will have to pay the workshop’s fee by May 15.  Each part of the workshop is limited to 12 participants.
 
 
 
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