UCLA La Kretz Workshop in Conservation Genomics - March 23-28, 2013

This workshop will explore the relationship between conservation problems and their solutions using genomic-level data. Hand-on training, a high faculty-student ratio, and discussions with agency biologists are some of the course highlights.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

UCLA La Kretz Field Station
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Conservation biology and genetics have had a long and intimate relationship, and constitute one of the key applications of evolutionary analysis to real-world biological problems. The impacts of population genetics, phylogenetics and phylogeography have been particularly striking for conservation biology, and have helped solve some of the most pressing problems in biological conservation.

As the field of landscape-based genetics continues to grow and mature, the increasing availability of genomic-level data, analytical models and methods stand to make profound new contributions to our ability to identify and protect at-risk populations and recover those that are most endangered. However, genomic level analyses also carry a heavy burden—data sets are enormous, often requiring diverse computational approaches for assembly, quality control and analysis.

This annual workshop will provide a comfortable, informal training environment for a small group of motivated graduate students to explore how conservation problems can best be addressed with genomic-level data. Our goal is to provide hands-on experience on the efficient collection, troubleshooting, and analysis of large data sets for conservation-relevant problems. One of the highlights of our workshop is active participation from members of several US government agencies who are at the forefront of endangered species protection and management, providing a forum for exploring the most relevant aspects of conservation genomics to managers.

The UCLA/La Kretz workshop will be held at the La Kretz Field Station in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains. Only 30 miles from UCLA (and LAX airport), but nestled in the relatively undeveloped 160,000 acre Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the Field Station provides an ideal location that brings exciting new developments in genomic science and pressing needs in conservation and management together in a single setting.

Our current instructor list, drawn from UCLA faculty and several other southern California partners, includes:

Mike Alfaro
Christie Brigham
Chris Delith
Brant Faircloth
Robert Fisher
Ryan Harrigan
Kirk Lohmueller
John Pollinger
Seth Riley
Brad Shaffer
Tom Smith
Victoria Sork
Phil Spinks
Bob Wayne

Topics covered include:

Traditional conservation genetics
Next generation platforms: the best tool for the job
Data management pipelines:
--Quality Control
--Data storage
--Data organization
Data analysis:
--Exploring very large data sets
--Functional genomic data
Genomic data and GIS
Conservation phylogenomics

Available housing limits course enrollment to ~15 students. Preference is given to doctoral candidates who are in the early to middle stages of their thesis research, and who have completed sufficient prerequisites (through previous coursework or research experience) to have some familiarity with using a command line interface or programming languages (i.e. Perl, python etc.). Unfortunately, because of limits on class size, postdocs and faculty are discouraged from applying.

Admission and Fees:
Students will be admitted based on academic qualifications and appropriateness of research interests. The course fee is $350. This includes food and lodging at the La Kretz Field Station, as well as any incidental fees, for the duration of the course (arriving March 23, departing March 28).

Application Forms and Information

Application Deadline:
Applications are due by January 11, 2013. Please send a completed application form and one letter of recommendation from your major advisor. Students will be notified via e-mail by January 18, 2013 of acceptance.

Applications should be sent as PDFs via email to: Phil Spinks at pqspinks@ucla.edu

For more information please contact

Phil Spinks

Download File: CGW2013application-eb-53m.docx