The NESCent Academy is a set of hands-on training workshops in evolutionary biology for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, early-career faculty and teachers. Our post-graduate courses are the result of a community-driven process for developing and offering short courses in synthetic evolutionary science. We ask members of the evolutionary biology community to propose course ideas by submitting proposals to NESCent. Each course is be 1-2 weeks long, limited to approximately 25 students and includes lectures balanced by hands-on activities.
- Next-generation Sequencing Data for Phylogenetics and Phylogeography, July 14-19, 2014
- The rapid expansion of genomic resources and explosion of new genome sequencing technologies allows researchers to obtain large phylogenomic data sets for any system rapidly and economically. In this course, students will receive an overview of recent technological advances, learn about data collection using emerging phylogenomic approaches, and analyze data sets using the most recent methods. Areas to be covered include: (1) emerging sequencing technologies, (2) targeted high-throughput sequencing approaches, such as anchored phylogenomics, transcriptome sequencing, reduced-representation library sequencing/RAD sequencing, and high-throughput amplicon sequencing, and (3) data analysis, including phylogenetic and phylogeographic analysis, and species delimitation.
- Paleobiological and Phylogenetic Approaches to Macroevolution, July 22-29
- This course will teach participants to use fossil and phylogenetic data to analyze macroevolutionary patterns using traditional paleobiological stratigraphic methods, phylogenetic comparative methods and combined fossil and tree approaches. Macroevolutionary research is currently split into two quite isolated branches, one based on fossils and the other on extant taxa and phylogenies. Increasingly,evolutionary biologists in both camps are realizing that, only by combining neontological and paleontological data and approaches, can a new, and more powerful integrative macroevolution emerge. Unfortunately, these two disciplines utilize very different data and quantitative methods. Therefore to truly initiate a synthesis of these two approaches we need to train students and researchers to understand the intricacies of both fossil and phylogenetic data, and the methods necessary to integrate them.
- Phylogenetic Analysis Using RevBayes, August 25-31
- This course will provide foundational knowledge in complex models for phylogenetic inference. Our focus will be primarily on Bayesian inference using MCMC. Each component of the course will be accompanied by a hands-on tutorial using cutting-edge phylogenetic inference software. Specifically, we will use this course to introduce and build a user base for RevBayes. RevBayes is a rich statistical package for inference of evolutionary parameters (open source: http://sourceforge.net/projects/revbayes/). This program coupled with detailed lectures on phylogenetic theory and applications will provide a rich learning environment for Ph.D. students and postdocs in evolutionary biology.
- GMOD (Generic Model Organism Database) Summer School, Dates TBA
- The Generic Model Organism Database (GMOD) project provides free, open-source, interoperable software packages for visualization, storage, and dissemination of genetic and genomic data. The GMOD Summer School is a five day course that covers the installation and usage of a number of widely used GMOD components, including the configuration of tools for different server and data types, and setting up a database with a Chado schema. The course is taught by members of the software development teams, who are all experienced developers, and GMOD project staff. The course comprises a set of hands-on tutorials; most sessions are four hours long (a half day), and the evenings feature work sessions where the instructors are available to answer questions and help participants use the tools with their data. Read on for more information on the GMOD Summer School.
Courses co-sponsored by NESCent
- Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics, Dates TBA
- To be offered at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis. Quantitative genetics deals with the inheritance of measurements of traits that are affected by many genes. Developments in the field are not reflected in textbooks and available courses aimed at evolutionary biologists. This workshop will review the basics of theory in the field of evolutionary quantitative genetics, its connections to evolution that is observed at various time scales and illustrate how that theory can be tested with data. Participants will learn to use R, an open-source statistical programming language, to build and test evolutionary models.
Workshops for Educators
In addition to our post-graduate courses, the NESCent Academy offers evolution workshops for teachers. Our 2013 workshop will be June 17-19 in Durham and Raleigh in partnership with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The website has more information about this year's event.
Here are links to programs from previous years:
- 2011 Workshop for Educators
- National Association of Biology Teachers workshops
- 2010 Workshop for Educators
- 2009 Workshop for Educators
Have an idea for a course that you want to teach? The deadline for course proposals is July 10 of each year. We also co-sponsor existing courses and workshops on topics of interest to the evolutionary biology and evolutionary informatics communities.
2013 NESCent Academy:
- Next-generation sequencing for phylogenetics and phylogeography
- Evolutionary quantitative genetics
- Anatomy Ontologies in evolutionary biology and genetics
- Two short workshops in China at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan and at Fudan University in Shanghai.
2012 NESCent Academy:
- Next-generation sequencing in evolutionary biology at NESCent
- Evolutionary quantitative genetics at NESCent
- Anatomy Ontologies in evolutionary biology and genetics at NESCent
- Computational Phyloinformatics in Moscow
2011 NESCent Academy:
- Evolutionary quantitative genetics at NESCent
- Next-gen sequencing at NESCent
- Practical computing for biologists at North Carolina State University
- Computational phyloinformatics at the Bioinformatics Center in Kyoto, Japan
- Evolution and Medicine at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory
If you have any questions about the NESCent Academy, please contact Dr. Karen Cranston, Training Coordinator and Bioinformatics Project Manager.