THE FIRST OMICs SUMMER SCHOOL: A SUCCESS Organized by the MANNA Project in Lodi, 22th-26th July 2019

By 9th August 2019 News

The majority of the participants in the MANNA Summer School (©MANNA)

The MANNA Summer School on OMICs was truly successful in bringing together members of the MANNA community, experts in the various areas of applied ‘omics’ technology, PhD students and researchers outwith MANNA with shared interests in animal nutrition. The summer school had two components. Part 1: a three day intensive course on Advanced Biotechnology applied to Animal Health and Nutrition, aiming to improve student’s knowledge on OMICs techniques; part 2: MANNA ESRs project progress assessments, management and administration meetings and a presentation of the progress of the MANNA programme to the EC commissionaire.  The summer school was organised by the MANNA network and held from the 22nd to the 26th of July at the Milan school of Veterinary Medicine in Lodi.

This first Summer School was organized by the University of Milan under the coordination of Fabrizio Ceciliani and Filippa Addis with the invaluable assistance of the Project Officer Chiara Mariani and by the ESRs based in Milan: Thi Xuan Nguyen (ESR 1), Gabriela Avila Morales (ESR 2) and Tamil selvi Sundaram (ESR 9). Their support was fundamental to set up the venue, coordinate the programme and identify speakers with expertise in OMICs, which was the leading topic of this event.

The Summer School lasted for three days and took place in the new facilities of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Milan, based in Lodi. The first day focused on transcriptomics, beginning with insightful lectures by Bianca Castiglioni and Paola Cremonesi, from the Institute of Agricultural Biology and Biotechnology – National Research Council (IBBA-CNR), and followed by Fabrizio Ceciliani (Professor at the University of Milan and MANNA Supervisor). By the end of the day, participants were able to understand the basic principles and applications for both short and long read RNA sequencing, including the opportunity to learn from case studies taken from the past experiences of the speakers. These information will greatly assist in key decision making steps with regards to the methodology adopted for various projects.

Bianca Castiglioni giving her lecture (©MANNA)

The second day was focused on proteomics and metabolomics techniques; the speakers Filippa Addis (Professor at the University of Milan and MANNA Supervisor), Muriel Bonnet (INRA and MANNA Supervisor), Donatella Caruso (Professor at the University of Milan) and Laurence Bernard (INRA) gave a complete overview on the importance of these techniques and their applications in Animal Sciences giving both theoretical and practical examples. Moreover, each of the speakers was capable to transfer their knowledge and their experiences being able to answer to all the doubts that arose from their lectures and giving valuable advices to the ESRs to successfully complete their future analyses. The potentially highly complex data output and the importance of having a focused question was highlighted in these seminars.

Filippa Addis giving her lecture (©MANNA)

The third and last day of the school was focused on microbiomics and bioinformatics. It covered all the aspects related to bacterial metagenomics, metaproteomics and how to develop a bioinformatic pipeline in a precise and efficient way. The speakers involved in this session were: Armand Sanchez Bonastre (Professor at the University of Barcelona and MANNA Supervisor), Filippa Addis, Mike Salter (AbAgri) and Carlotta Catozzi (PhD student of the University of Milan). Their knowledge in the topics were again fundamental to explain to the audience the importance and the difficulties of these techniques when transferring their use both on animal science studies and when aiming for a commercial application of a product.

Carlotta Catozzi answering the questions from the audience (©MANNA)

Overall, the first MANNA Summer School was a very positive experience according to participants. Particularly, it was a great honour for us to have master’s students, PhD students and other researchers from all over the world (Italy, Croatia, Germany, Lithuania and Iran were some of the countries represented) attending the lectures.

To conclude, we want to acknowledge once again the University of Milan team for having organized the event. Moreover, we think that this first ever MANNA Summer School will be just a starting point for all the future activities that the framework has already planned and that is ready to pursue. So, the only thing you need to do now is to keep following us in order not to miss any future activities.

Written by Ruben Riosa & Rafaela Furioso Ferreira