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Table of Contents: 2021 SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER No. 442

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NLM Webinar: NCBI Virtual Workshop Series

NLM Webinar: NCBI Virtual Workshop Series. NLM Tech Bull. 2021 Sep-Oct;(442):b7.

2021 September 22 [posted]

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) is pleased to announce the new NCBI Virtual Workshop Series. The workshop series aims to engage and educate people who use the NCBI resources for their biological/biomedical research, science education, and clinical application efforts.

Listed below are three upcoming virtual workshops that are now accepting applications. Please review the workshop descriptions to understand the intended audience. Each workshop will accept a limited number of participants to facilitate the best possible educational experience. Applicants will be informed of their status at least two weeks before the event.

More information can be found on the new Outreach Events page of the NCBI Insights Blog.

Using Web BLAST Effectively

Date and time: Thursday, October 14, 2021, 1:00pm - 2:30pm ET


NCBI’s BLAST is the most widely used bioinformatics tool in the world. It was designed to use a nucleotide or protein sequence to search and quickly find similar sequences in large databases. While originally designed for studying evolutionary relationships, BLAST is now often used for identification of the gene name and/or source organism of the sequence, related sequences from other organisms (homologs), as well as the location of a sequence within a larger reference sequence, such as a chromosome or genome.

This workshop is suitable for beginner Web BLAST users and those who would like some tips and tricks to enhance their ability to use this powerful bioinformatics tool. The topics we cover in this hands-on Web BLAST workshop are derived from feedback and questions received from BLAST users.

In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Choose the best BLAST program and database for your goal
  • Limit your search to a specific taxonomic group
  • Adjust search parameters to refine your search
  • Customize and download the search results
  • Display your BLAST results in an interactive sequence viewer

We will also discuss when Web BLAST is not appropriate for your goals.

Register here:

Application close date: October 1, 2021

Application status notification date: October 5, 2021

NCBI Resources for Genetic Disease Discovery & Clinical Support

Date and time: Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 1:00pm - 4:00pm ET


The use of genetic testing in patient care is becoming more common in clinical practice. While NCBI has long had resources for biologists to explore genomes, genes, and genetic variations, NCBI recently developed clinically-focused resources. This online, interactive workshop is designed for participants involved in clinical practice and/or translational research.

Based on a real-world case study, you will learn how to:

  • Find a MedGen record with links to various literature resources to assist in clinical decision support and patient education
  • Identify a relevant diagnostic genetic test and examine sample test results
  • Based on an identified genetic variant, explore the affected gene and gene product with regard to structure and function
  • Explain the patient's disease etiology and effectiveness of therapeutic interventions

This module ends with a session where you will be given your own case study to solve.

Register here:

Application close date: October 8, 2021

Application status notification date: October 13, 2021

An NCBI Guide to Finding and Analyzing Metagenomic Data

Date and time: Thursday, October 28, 2021, 1:00pm - 2:30pm ET


Metagenomics is the study of genetic material collected from a mixed community of organisms within their original environmental conditions. Recent efforts in this field have studied clinical and environmental samples to characterize the taxonomic composition and biological properties of microbial communities within the living ecosystem. This work often involves large, complex multi-organism datasets and specific tools to untangle unique components of a sample. For years, NCBI has been storing and making available metagenomic sequences and their natural environmental origins (e.g., metadata) in a variety of formats. More recently, NCBI also created some tools for analyzing metagenomic data, such as MagicBLAST (a tool to align high-throughput sequence reads to a reference sequence) and STAT (a tool to map high-throughput sequence read data on a taxonomic hierarchy).

This workshop is designed for researchers to gain hands-on experience with accessing and analyzing metagenomic data using the various relevant resources available on the NCBI website. Additionally, some exercises in this workshop will provide experience with a Jupyter Notebook for bash- and python-based accessing and processing of this metagenomic data.

In this workshop you will learn how to:

  • Search and retrieve metagenomic sequence data from multiple NCBI databases
  • Explore STAT-generated taxonomic compositional analysis of SRA metagenomic reads
  • Align SRA metagenomic reads to an NCBI sequence database using MagicBLAST

Register here:

Application close date: October 8, 2021

Application status notification date: October 13, 2021

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