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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
  • August: Dr Setegn Alemu, AgResearch
  • September: Ee Cheng Oi, Abacus Bio
  • October: Franziska Weik, Beef + Lamb NZ Genetics
  • November: Dr Jane Symonds and Dr Megan Scholtens, Cawthron

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

June Seminar

The seminar will be held on the 15th of June in BI.G13, Biochemistry Building and will be given by Professor Mik Black of the Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago.

Title: Help! My genome turned into a graph…
Abstract: The recent release of a “draft human pangenome reference” has been hailed as providing access to a “more diverse human genome”. The incorporation of additional genetic diversity into what was previously a very non-diverse human reference genome was achieved through the use of “genome graph” methodology. Available in various forms for around five years now, methods for constructing genome graphs provide the ability to store both genomic sequence and genetic variation for any organism in a single graph-based representation of a genome, with additional genetic diversity (e.g., single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) and structural variants (SVs)) able to be added to an existing graph. This graph-based approach provides some major advantages over traditional linear reference approaches, however there are also a number of challenges that must be overcome for this methodology to become widely accepted. In this talk I will provide an overview of the current “linear reference” approach to genomic analysis, contrasting this with the additional opportunities offered by graph-based methodology. I will also present the results of work undertaken within the Genome Graphs project that has been funded by Genomics Aotearoa, where a graph-based approach has been applied in the area of pathogen genomics.

Biography: Professor Black is a member of the Centre for Translational Cancer Research, and his research focuses on the development of methods for the analysis of genomic data, with a strong emphasis on cancer and other human diseases. A common theme is the use of techniques that allow high-dimensional and often very disparate data sets to be combined in ways that provide new insights into disease development and progression:
Centre for Translational Cancer Research

This research is highly collaborative, and Mik works closely with a number of Otago research groups, as well as with long-standing national and international collaborators at the University of Auckland, the Institute of Environmental Science and Research, Wake Forest University Medical School, and Moffitt Cancer Center.

In addition to his own work, Mik has been heavily involved in establishing national research infrastructure in high performance computing through the NZ eScience Infrastructure, and in genomics and bioinformatics through Genomics Aotearoa, where he is the Chair of the Bioinformatics Leadership Team:
NZ eScience Infrastructure
Genomics Aotearoa

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

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eDNA Hub Seminar – Dr Quentin Mauvisseau

The eDNA Hub is hosting a special seminar by Dr Quentin Mauvisseau (EDGE group (Evolution, eDNA, Genomics and Ethnobotany) Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway): Monitoring marine and freshwater habitats from polar to tropical environments: challenges of eDNA based monitoring.

Dr Quentin Mauvisseau
EDGE group (Evolution, eDNA, Genomics and Ethnobotany) Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Quentin Mauvisseau is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo. He holds a PhD from the University of Derby (UK) where he worked on investigating alternative methods to assess habitat quality in freshwater systems. His background spans eDNA monitoring, molecular biology, and conservation. His current research uses eDNA and metabarcoding to measure biodiversity dynamics to establish baselines and monitor recovery in ecosystems affected by climate change and other anthropogenic activities.

Quentin Mauvisseau Google Scholar Citations

Monitoring marine and freshwater habitats from polar to tropical environments: challenges of eDNA based monitoring

From the Arctic to the Equator, freshwater and marine habitats host highly diverse fish communities which are of high conservation values and often key resources for local livelihoods. Nevertheless, ecosystem management often remain limited and is hampered by the vast extent of aquatic habitats and limited conservation budgets. eDNA based monitoring allow to reliably survey aquatic communities and has a great potential to provide a snapshot of the fish diversity in remote area with very high rate of endemism. Here, I will present preliminary results of ongoing research projects, from Svalbard archipelago to Madagascar and Mozambique. I will highlight the benefits of citizen science, as well important improvement, methodological or technical trade-offs of eDNA based surveys.

Date: 1st June 2023
Time: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Location: D’Ath Lecture Theatre, Hercus Building

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

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