Many many years ago, a group of us put together a course on phylogenetic analysis and took this course to South America, using funding obtained from various places in Europe – sometimes The European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), sometimes the Society for General Microbiology (now The Microbiology Society), sometimes the British Association.
The course has had several variants and indeed we taught versions of the course in Europe – in Maynooth, in Oeiras, in Helsinki and in Lausanne.
EMBO funded a version of the course in January of this year and it was taught in the beautiful Amazonian city of Iquitos, Peru.
The teachers included myself, Chris Creevey, Karen Siu-Ting, Mary O’Connell, Mark Wilkinson, Claire Morgan and Omar Rota-Stabelli.
I was not involved in organising the funding, but EMBO contributed approximately €20,000 towards funding the cost of getting the teachers to Iquitos, funding accommodation for teachers and students and funding the food bill for the week. The students also contributed a registration fee and the CONCYTEC contributed €4,500 towards the course as well.
The course lasted one week and consisted of morning lectures and afternoon practicals on the subject of phylogenetics and phylogenomics.
The student’s research interests ranged from animal conservation efforts to infectious disease analysis and it was a very stimulating and enjoyable week in an extremely lovely location.
Naturally, it was extremely hot in the Amazon, but nonetheless, we packed more than 55 hours of teaching into the week and the students reviews of the course were overwhelmingly positive (>95% said it met or exceeded their expectations).