Genome Cafe

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What is the Genome Cafe :

The Genome Cafe is a 1,200 square-foot dry laboratory, housed in the Department of Biostatistics, but serving genomic collaborators across the University. It is adjacent to a server room hosting high performance computing resources (A.3.8), to program faculty offices, and to wet labs of the MMI department. It is equipped with additional computing and visualization tools and with facilities for working groups, small lectures and computing workshop. The environment of the lab is designed with architectural input to facilitate interaction. Activities are coordinated by a group of core faculty from four departments across two schools.

The overarching goal of this initiative is to foster the development of genome biometry, that is the quantitative measurement and modeling of variation in the genome and its effects on human health. This is pursued in two ways. The first is the sharing of high performance computing among a group of faculty interested in using computational methods to advance our understanding of genetics and genomics. This intermediate level of centralization of resources is optimal in reaching a compromise between size, flexibility, and bureaucratical overhead, and is the most likely to serve the scientific goals of the faculty and their trainees. The second is the sharing of trainees space among the same faculty. As a result, the lab functions as a collaborative space where faculty and their trainees work, and also interact and learn in an interdisciplinary environment.

Thus, like a cafe, it is a place one can work in a friendly environment, but also tap into common knowledge, stay in the loop, or have an interesting discussion with others that share a passion for the same mysteries and think about them from different backgrounds and perspectives. Like a cafe, it is also a place where there are live events, such as working groups, journal clubs and hands-on computing workshops and demonstrations.

The Genome Cafe serves as the intellectual and physical home of training activities in the area of bioinformatics, including the Bioinformatics MHS. Through this venue, trainees will immediately and seamlessly become involved in interdisciplinary exchanges, will find context, support, and stimulation for their learning experience, and will have access to state-of-the art expertise and resources. The environment, both physically and intellectually, promotes a collaborative attitude and team-oriented values among the trainees, and provides a hub for direct interactions among trainees, postdocs, and programmers that are as valuable as those between trainees and their advising faculty.