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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.

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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.

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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.

MapNet 2023 @ Dunedin, Invermay
Nov 22 @ 9:00 am – Nov 24 @ 5:00 pm

We are pleased to announce that MapNet will be held in Dunedin this November. Check out the flyer attached and website We will continue to update with sponsor and programme details.

Key dates:

Deadline for abstract submission – 25 October, 2023

Registration closes – 6 November, 2023

MapNet dates – 22-24 November, 2023

Causal Inference workshop
Nov 23 – Nov 24 all-day

Causal Inference workshop – 23rd and 24th November 2023
This in-person, two-day Causal Inference workshop presented by Professor Michael Hudgens, Professor of Biostatistics and Chair of the Department of Biostatistics UNC-Chapel Hill, on the Thursday and Friday after the conference.
Target audience: Health researchers, epidemiologists, biostatisticians

Please refer to the attached posters for more details.
Causal Inference workshop Poster – Nov 2023

Kindly note, that you need to register for the Workshop. The early bird registration date has been extended to Sunday, 15th October 2023.

FNA Perth 2023 @ Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre
Nov 23 – Nov 24 all-day

The Symposium “Functional Nucleic Acids: From Laboratory to Targeted Molecular Therapy” will be held on 23-24 November 2023 at Murdoch University Campus in Perth, Australia.

Don’t miss your chance to hear from global and industry pioneers in RNA Therapeutics at the 3rd International Symposium on Functional Nucleic Acids 23-24 November 2023 at Murdoch University, Perth.

For just $275.00(AUD) or a heavily discounted student rate of $75.00(AUD) you can hear the latest updates from around the world and build your networks.

See the attachment for announcement of Keynote speakers with more exciting speakers still to come. Your name could appear alongside these industry greats when you submit your abstract now.

Abstract submission deadline:
5pm Monday 30 October: Oral or Poster presentation.
Submit an abstract to be considered for an oral or poster.
Guidelines and submission details can be found on the website.
Please Note: Registration is required to submit an abstract.

We look forward to seeing you in Perth in November – REGISTER NOW!

FNA Keynote speakers 2023[81]

Otago Bioinformatics Spring School @ University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Nov 27 – Dec 1 all-day

Hosted at the University of Otago, the Bioinformatics Spring School 2023 is a week long training event for researchers, supported by Genomics Aotearoa and the New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI). This event is primarily targeted at researchers and students based in Aotearoa New Zealand. International applications will be considered but will need to be able to attend in-person.

Expressions of interest applications are now open and will close midnight, Friday 29th September 2023.

Full Details:

eResearch NZ 2024 conference @ Intercontinental Wellington.
Feb 7 – Feb 9 all-day

7-9 February 2024 | Wellington
eResearch NZ is the leading conference for the research community in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Each year, it brings people together to connect, converse, and share their latest ideas and innovations.

In 2024, we’ll be hosting the event in Wellington. Our strategic theme is He Moana Pukepuke e Ekengia e te Waka | Navigating an evolving eResearch landscape

Together with the research community, we’ll be showcasing new innovations, technology and research while helping each other navigate the challenges in our changing field.

eResearch NZ is a collaborative initiative organised by REANNZ, NeSI and Genomics Aotearoa with the support of the wider community.