Argentina: EMBL in action

Fernando Goldbaum, Argentina’s EMBL Council delegate, joins Graciela Ciccia of the Argentina Chamber of Biotechnology (CAB), at the industry seminar. PHOTO: CAB
Fernando Goldbaum, Argentina’s EMBL Council delegate, joins Graciela Ciccia of the Argentina Chamber of Biotechnology (CAB), at the industry seminar. PHOTO: CAB

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In its earliest days of EMBL associate membership, Argentina embraces bioinformatics by hosting back-to-back workshops run by the EMBL-EBI Industry Programme and the EMBL-EBI Training Programme.

Argentina’s most recent events as a new EMBL associate member state included two activities from EMBL-EBI: a bioinformatics roadshow – one of the most popular offerings of the EMBL-EBI Training Programme – and an EMBL-EBI Industry Seminar, both supported by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation (MINCYT). The two events were followed by a César Milstein Lecture given by EMBL Director Matthias Hentze at the Leloir Institute in Buenos Aires, and the launch of a call for short-term visitors to EMBL from Argentina.

Bioinformatics services and training have been in high demand in Argentina, where a well-developed life-science community has traditionally focused on biotechnology, agriculture and biofuels. The training roadshow, held at the National University of San Martin in Buenos Aires and delivered by trainers Andrew Cowley, Sandra Orchard and Amy Tang, was attended by 30 scientists but was dramatically oversubscribed.

Amy Tang, bioinformatician and trainer, delivers a talk at the bioinformatics roadshow. PHOTO: Dominic Clark

Amy Tang, bioinformatician and trainer, delivers a talk at the bioinformatics roadshow in Buenos Aires. PHOTO: CAB

“There was a lot of enthusiasm for this workshop and we received lots of good feedback,” explains EMBL-EBI’s Sarah Morgan, who co-organised the event with Fernan Aguero of the National University of San Martin. “Argentina is looking to increase its bioinformatics capacity, and I think this exposure to EMBL-EBI’s services and training offerings was so well received because there is just such a huge demand.”

Complimenting the bioinformatics roadshow was the seminar on industrial applications of bioinformatics, hosted by the Argentine Chamber of Biotechnology (CAB) in co-ordination with MINCYT. The seminar was opened by Fernando Goldbaum, Argentina’s EMBL Council delegate, and included both overview presentations and detailed industrial case studies in human health research and agriculture. There were approximately 80 attendees.

The back-to-back workshops run by the EMBL-EBI Industry Programme were well attended. PHOTO: Dominic Clark

Back-to-back workshops were well attended. PHOTO: CAB

“I was keenly aware of the interest of the Argentinian biotechnology community in industrial applications of bioinformatics,” said Dominic Clark, Head of the EMBL-EBI Industry Programme. “It was only when Argentina joined EMBL that we were able to organise the seminar. We hope to build on this through further focused collaborations in future. ”

We have a lot to look forward to in terms of building stronger ties with scientists in this important community.

“There are many EMBL events coming up in Argentina, and we have a lot to look forward to in terms of building stronger ties with scientists in this important community,” says Silke Schumacher, Director of International Relations at EMBL. Upcoming joint initiatives include scientific visits from Argentinian young researchers to EMBL and a workshop on structural biology.

This autumn, EMBL and Argentina launched a competitive, short-term visitor programme that will enable Argentinian postdocs and PhD students to collaborate more easily with EMBL scientists at each of its five sites. The first call for applications closed on 16 November 2014.

Director Matthias Henze gives the César Milstein Lecture at the Leloir Institute in Buenos Aires. PHOTO: Fundación Instituto Leloir

Director Matthias Hentze gives the César Milstein Lecture at the Leloir Institute in Buenos Aires. PHOTO: Fundación Instituto Leloir

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