Omics Group Inaugurated
By Marija Jovanovic
MSc candidate, Chen Lab
Currently, data is being generated at an unprecedented rate. In the field of biology, the huge amount of data available has lead to emergence of an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing the data. "Omics" refers to the intersection of biology, computer science, and statistics that seeks to tackle this Big Biology Data.
The success of Omics research is highly dependent on collaboration and communication between the people that have the relevant expertise. But, because there is nothing analogous to an "Omics department" at SFU, people doing Omics research are spread out between a number of departments. Hence, it is a challenge for researchers, especially students, to come together and discuss similar issues that they may be facing. This is what motivated two graduate students at SFU to help the SFU community come together to learn and share their knowledge about bioinformatics, computational biology, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and all-the-omics.
After a number of hurdles, the inaugural meeting of the Omics Group took place on February 23rd, 2017, with the hope that at least couple of people would show up. Unexpectedly, about 30 people came and enthusiastically participated in the first meeting. The attendees came from a variety of fields and ranged from undergraduate and graduate students, to post doctorate fellows, to faculty members, to technicians, and even community members. At the meeting, the message was clear; people wanted a way to be able to connect with others interested in Omics to learn about current research and discuss their own research challenges.
Apart from the next monthly meeting, which will be on March 23rd at 4:30pm, the group has a number of exciting things planned for the future. One of the Omics group's big goals is to offer workshops with guest speakers that are experts in Omics topics. Additionally, they are trying to make the group as accessible as possible to everyone that is interested. The Omics Group website (https://sites.google.com/site/sfuomics/home) will, hopefully, serve as a resource to the community by connecting people and providing information about the meetings and Omics related topics.