Workshop: Taming the BEAST in the South Pacific

Members of the MEEP Lab will be part of the teaching term for the upcoming workshop “Taming the BEAST in the South Pacific”.

Phylogenetics and phylodynamics are central topics in modern biology. Phylogenetic inferences reconstruct the evolutionary relationships between organisms, whereas phylodynamic inferences reveal the dynamics that lead to the observed relationships. These two fields have many practical applications in disciplines such as epidemiology, developmental biology, paleontology, ecology and even linguistics. However phylogenetics and phylodynamics are complex and fast-evolving fields. As such, inference tools are not easily accessible to researchers who are not from a computational background.

Taming the BEAST in the South Pacific is a week-long summer school to be held on scenic Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand and organised by the Centre for Computational Evolution at the University of Auckland. This is the first Taming the BEAST comprehensive short course to be held in the Southern Hemisphere, and is modelled after Taming the BEAST summer school in the Swiss Alps organised by the Computational Evolution group at ETH Zurich.

This intensive summer school will focus on the BEAST2 software, and consists of a mix of talks by leading experts in the field (including several of the key architects of BEAST2), lectures and hands-on tutorial sessions. The aim of the summer school is to equip participants with the skills necessary to confidently perform their own inferences, while providing them with a firm grasp of the theory behind those inferences. Participants are also highly encouraged to bring along their own datasets and to engage with the speakers and teaching assistants to explore advanced analyses options.

The summer school is primarily designed for postgraduate students and early-career researchers in the life sciences, but will be open for all researchers. Participation is limited and if oversubscribed, preference will be given to applicants who have already collected/assembled a dataset that they need to analyse.

Numbers at the summer school are limited to 30. Please register your interest by 25 October 2016 by sending an expression of interest to compevol@auckland.ac.nz with a bio and your area of research interest. We will notify participants in early November for payment.

There are three scholarships of NZD $750 towards the cost of the workshop available for postgraduate students. If you would like to be considered for one of these scholarships, please send your CV and a letter to the organiser stating your areas of research and why you should be selected, by 25 October 2016. Decision by the organisers is final, and successful applicants will be informed by the beginning of November.

Venue: The Venue

Location: 21 The Strand, Onetangi Beach, Waiheke Island

Host: Centre for Computational Evolution, the University of Auckland

Cost: NZD $1,300 (5 nights accommodation and most meals included)

Contact email: compevol@auckland.ac.nz