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Inaugural meeting of the Wales Cancer Bioinformatics Network

The Wales Cancer Bioinformatics Network (WCBN) had its inaugural meeting on March 20, 2024, marking the beginning of a collaborative journey to advance cancer research through bioinformatics. 

The meeting, conducted virtually over Microsoft Teams, brought together 25 members representing Cardiff University, Swansea University, and the All-Wales Medical Genomics Service (AWMGS – NHS). Through interactive tools like Mentimeter and whiteboarding sessions, participants shared their backgrounds in bioinformatics and articulated their expectations from the network.

Key discussions were had on how the group should be operated and the network also established a roadmap for future endeavours which focuses on fostering collaboration, providing training and education, organising in-person and virtual events, sharing resources, enhancing communication, and managing data effectively.

During the meeting it was agreed that the creation of an online community space for communication and knowledge exchange would be useful. Subsequently a Slack group (a messaging app) with multi-channels catering to different interests has been created. 

Additionally, the group discussed several new initiatives including:

  • hosting four annual events, featuring prominent speakers and topical discussions to enrich expertise.
  • introducing a weekly bioinformatics clinic, offering a dedicated platform for members to seek assistance, troubleshoot challenges, and share insights.
  • conducting comprehensive training sessions and personalised one-to-one data clinics, aimed at empowering members at all proficiency levels and fostering skill development.
  • creating avenues for grant applications and extending support in grant writing, facilitating the pursuit of research ambitions within the network.

Alex Gibbs, CReSt core bioinformatician and network lead said: “The WCBN’s first meeting was a massive success! We had a strong turnout and lots of engagement from the members. Together, we discussed how we want the network to be operated and proposed a ‘way forward’. I have since set up a Slack group for the network, which will be the base of operations for the network.”

The next meeting will take place on Thursday 20 June between 12:30-14:00 to join the Bioinformatics Network, or for more information please visit the website.