Skip to Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu


Upcoming events hosted by or involving Genetics Otago will be listed here. Please check back regularly for updates. A calendar of events that may be of interest to our members can be found at the bottom of this page and in the sidebar of other pages on this site, please note that this includes events hosted outside of Genetics Otago.

^ Top of Page


VISG Seminar Series

The Virtual Institute of Statistical Genetics (VISG) Hub is a key part of Genetics Otago, providing a platform for researchers to collaborate and exchange knowledge and expertise in statistical genetics. The VISG Hub hosts seminars, workshops, and other events to promote statistical genetics research and foster collaboration between researchers.

We’re excited to announce our monthly genetics research seminars, aimed at connecting researchers in the field. The seminars will commence in May 2023 and will be hosted by GO’s Virtual Institute of Statistical Genetics (VISG) Hub along with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Otago. These seminars will be available in person or via Zoom, and all are welcome.

Date: 3rd Thursday of the month
Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm


  • May: Associate Professor Phil Wilcox, University of Otago
  • June: Professor Mik Black, University of Otago
  • July: Dr Ludovic Dutoit, University of Otago – please note that this seminar will be held on the 27th of July rather than the 20th due to ICG.
  • August: Dr Setegn Alemu, AgResearch
  • September: Ee Cheng Oi, Abacus Bio
  • October: Franziska Weik, Beef + Lamb NZ Genetics – Cancelled
  • November: Dr Jane Symonds and Dr Megan Scholtens, Cawthron – please note that this seminar will be held on the 17th of November rather than the 16th due to the Genetics Otago Annual Symposium.

Zoom Details
If you would like the Zoom details for this event, please contact us.

Next Seminar

The next seminar will be held on Friday the 17th of November, 11 am in Biochemistry Seminar Room G13 and will be given by Dr Jane Symonds and Dr Megan Scholtens, Cawthron Institute.

Title: Environmental resilience in aquatic species

Abstract: The New Zealand aquaculture sector faces growing vulnerability due to climate change, with marine heatwaves already causing elevated summer mortality rates in Greenshell mussels and king (Chinook) salmon. To tackle these challenges, selective breeding and genomic selection offer long-term solutions. Temperature challenge models, implemented in controlled tank environments, have been developed for both species. So far, this approach has been applied successfully to test more than 230 pedigree king salmon families and 21 Greenshell mussel families. Heritabilities for time to death at elevated temperature were high (0.34 to 0.48) suggesting that selection for improved thermotolerance is possible.

Megan Scholtens

Megan is a geneticist within the Aquaculture Group at Cawthron and is involved in a number of research projects across the ‘Shellfish Aquaculture’ and ‘Finfish Climate Change Adaptation’ platforms. Megan specialises in the application of genetic and genomic methodologies to enhance the understanding of how genes affect traits such as growth, development, behaviour, reproduction and immunity to improve the efficiency, resilience and survivability of aquatic species. In addition, Megan contributes to research activities of the Aquaculture team by integrating the experimental biology with commercial production to help provide solutions for clients and deliver tangible outcomes for the aquaculture industry.

Jane Symonds

Jane is a Senior Scientist and Team Leader in the Aquaculture Group at Cawthron. Jane’s focus is the application of research to enhance sustainable commercial production with a specific interest in king salmon farming and selective breeding. She has over 30 years of experience in this field. As a science programme leader she oversees a wide range of multi-disciplinary collaborative projects with internal and external partners, including salmon feed efficiency, genomics, behaviour, health, physiology, microbiomics, climate change adaptation, data science and developing trials to selectively breed resilient and efficient king salmon. Implementation of research for sustainable and profitable aquaculture development is a key driver for Jane. Dr Symonds is also a Senior Adjunct Researcher at the University of Tasmania and helps supervise multiple post-graduate students.

If you have any questions about this seminar series please contact us.

^ Top of Page



^ Top of Page


Calendar of Events

The below is a calendar of events hosted by GO as well as events hosted by others that may be of interest to our members. If you have an event you would like us to include please contact us here.

Genemappers 2024 @ Te Pae Convention Centre
Aug 19 – Aug 21 all-day

Kia ora! It is our great pleasure to invite you to the 17th GeneMappers Conference, to be held in Christchurch from Monday 19th to Wednesday 21st August. We are excited to host this meeting outside Australia for the first time, and aim to retain the ethos and build on the energy of previous meetings.

GeneMappers embraces all aspects of human genetics, genomics, and bioinformatics. It provides a forum for presentation and discussion of new research ideas and technologies, and is always a superb networking forum for scientists at all career stages.

The 2024 meeting will be held at the brand new Te Pae Convention Centre, in the heart of Christchurch city. We do hope you will take extra time to enjoy the city and its environs, and perhaps combine your visit with a winter break in the beautiful South Island (Te Waipounamu).

We look forward to welcoming you to Christchurch in August 2024!


Martin Kennedy and Anna Pilbrow
University of Otago, Christchurch

5th Annual Metagenomics Summer (Spring) School @ University of Auckland
Sep 3 – Sep 6 all-day
Metagenomics Summer School
The Environmental Microbiomes team at Genomics Aotearoa is hosting the 5th annual Metagenomics Summer (Spring) School.

This practical, hands-on workshop focuses on prokaryotic metagenomics and will be conducted in person at the University of Auckland, City Campus, Auckland, from September 3 to 6, 2024.

The workshop aims to guide participants through the process of analysing metagenomic short-read sequence data, including metagenomic read sequence processing, generation of curated metagenome-assembled genomes, and downstream data analyses and visualisation in R.

For a brief overview, browse course materials from the previous workshop here.

Examples of topics covered are:

  • Introduction to Bash shell and scripting (pre-workshop session)
  • Pragmatic considerations for planning experiments/sampling excursions (e.g., how much sequence data do I need? What are the approaches to analysing the data I have?)
  • Best practices in handling and processing metagenomic data
  • Metagenome assembly, binning and annotation
  • Viral genome prediction from metagenomic assemblies

We invite researchers of all bioinformatics skill levels and career stages to register their interest here. Registrations close at 2pm on Friday, June 7.

Email Boey at if you have any enquiries.