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What the Next Three Weeks are About and Who are Your Educators?

Outline of the weeks to come and meet your educators
© Wellcome Connecting Science

What will be covered in the next three weeks?

In Week 1 we will present some learning and teaching theories and practices, and describe the process of course design. You will also hear from an expert bioinformatics trainer. This will feed into Week 2, where you will be able to think about and plan your own design, by hearing about different genomics and bioinformatics training case studies. Finally, in Week 3 you will have an opportunity to apply your learning on the course by reviewing each others’ work on course design. Our last case study is also in week 3, when you will hear about a unique blended learning model applied to teaching bioinformatics education in Africa.

Meet your Educators

We, your Educators on this course, will be present during the next three weeks of the course, following and joining in the discussions from time to time and sharing our expertise with you. On this journey together, we will be helping each other to learn. We will also be looking at your feedback, which will serve to improve the course.

At the end of each week, we provide a written summary of the week’s learning. We will also email you with a round-up of the week’s learning. We are looking forward to learning with you.

Rachel Berkson

Lead Educator and Developer

picture of Rachel Berkson

Rachel is Education Manager at Wellcome Connecting Science, responsible for online short courses like this one. She collaborates with experts in all aspects of genomics to make advanced training available to scientists and healthcare professionals around the world.

Originally trained in molecular oncology, Rachel has spent her career building communities to promote education in science and other areas, with dual specializations in bioscience and education. She has worked as a researcher in England and Scotland in the UK, and at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and as a lecturer at Keele University Medical School for 8 years. Before moving to Wellcome Connecting Science, Rachel worked on a project to apply active learning methods at scale and promote the success of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Monica Abrudan

Educator and Developer

picture of Monica Abrudan

Monica is the Training Development Lead in the Centre for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance (CGPS), at University of Oxford, and was previously a postdoctoral scientist in the same team, where she studied the emergence and spread of high-risk bacteria, through bioinformatic analyses of genomic data and modelling.

As part of her work in CGPS, Monica has analysed thousands of bacterial genomes from European structured surveys and other global collections. During her PhD in Microbial ecology at the University of Manchester, Monica studied bacterial warfare through toxins secretion in populations of Streptococcus pneumoniae isolated from Dutch nurseries and Streptomycetes isolated from soil.

Monica is passionate about training others Bioinformatics and programming and she was a mentor in the EMBL-EBI Bioinformatics Summer School in 2019 and in 2020, where she taught groups of researchers and medics the technical aspects of exploring genetic variation in human populations. Also, Monica was a course instructor on the Wellcome Connecting Science and CGPS joint course: Train the Trainer: Capacity building for genomic surveillance of AMR in October 2019.

In her free time, Monica volunteers for the Romanian Society of Bioinformatics, where she organises Bioinformatics training courses and public engagement activities.

Alice Matimba

Educator and Developer

picture of Alice Matimba

Alice Matimba is experienced in basic research focused on genomic sciences, teaching, scientific communication and resource building for applications in health research and training. She has expertise in development, adaptation and dissemination of skills to build capacity for biomedical research and healthcare applications.

She oversees the overall strategy, coordination and tailored development of training held in collaboration with host partners and research consortia based in LMICs (Low and Middle Income Countries) in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. She works with regional networks, teams of scientists and clinical staff bringing together worldwide instructors to organize events and deliver training to researchers, clinicians and public health scientists. She applies evaluation methods to balance the needs of the varied audiences, not only assessing reach, but also understanding qualitative impact as informed through consultation with stakeholders and regular monitoring of programme outcomes.

She is also a co-producer of a digital mentorship resource “Your Digital Mentor Podcast”, a free podcast series which explores topics around mentoring and career development, tackling the challenges through real stories and honest discussions from expert guests based around the world.

Ben Moore

Educator and Developer

picture of Ben Moore

Ben is an Ensembl Outreach Officer, based at the European Bioinformatics Institute, where he is responsible for delivering training in the use of the Ensembl genome browser. He has delivered over 150 courses for students around the world, including a number of face-to-face Train-the-Trainer workshops, designed to provide students with the tools to deliver Ensembl browser workshops themselves.

Dusanka Nikolic

Educator and Developer

picture of Dusanka Nikolic

Dusanka’s background is both in Computer Science and Education. In her present role as Senior Education Developer, Dusanka focuses on research-based design and development of MOOCs within the Wellcome Connecting Science (WCS) online programme. She coordinates, leads and co-leads teams of experts, developers and educators on the online courses, providing pedagogical guidance and mentorship. Specifically, since January 2019, the teams have been developing and running 9 online courses on different aspects of genomics and bioinformatics.

Dusanka develops interactive exercises for the online courses to enhance online learning of subjects typically taught face-to-face, such as lab based. She also takes part in teaching of education modules in face to face courses organised by the WCS teams. Dusanka was part of the team which designed, developed and taught the Train the Trainer: Capacity building for genomic surveillance of AMR course, organised by the Centre for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance and Wellcome Advanced Courses in 2019.

‘Follow’ us, Rachel Berkson, Monica Abrudan, Alice Matimba, Ben Moore, and Dusanka Nikolic and track our contributions to discussions by accessing our profiles.

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