GP2 Bioinformatics Training Workshops and Regional Training Initiatives: Highlighting Global Collaboration
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GP2 Bioinformatics Training Workshops and Regional Training Initiatives: Highlighting Global Collaboration

By Maria Teresa Periñan Tocino and Sumit Dey | , |
  • Working Group Participant

    Maria Teresa Periñan Tocino, MSc

    University of Seville | Spain

    María Teresa is the GP2 Training, Outreach and Research Fellow for the Training, Networking, and Communication working group. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology at the University of Cadiz, Spain, then enrolled in a master’s program to specialize in bioinformatics. Her research interests are primarily focused on understanding the genetics that lead to the ... Read More

  • Co-lead, Training and Networking

    Sumit Dey, MSc

    Queen Mary University of London | United Kingdom

    Sumit is the Co-lead for the Training, Networking, and Communication working group. He contributes and supports all aspects of the TNC group’s work delivering milestones for the GP2 project. Sumit completed his postgraduate study on Clinical Neuroscience at UCL. He has an undergraduate degree in Neuropsychology from the University of Central Lancashire.

The Global Parkinson’s Genetics Program (GP2) continues to spearhead the dissemination of bioinformatics training and clinical knowledge on Parkinson’s disease (PD) through a series of training programs worldwide. This post highlights recent training events in Colombia, Mexico, and Kyrgyzstan and reflects GP2’s commitment to fostering global expertise in PD genetics research and data science. Malaysia, Georgia, and Morocco will host upcoming workshops before the end of 2024.

GP2 Bioinformatics Training Workshop – Cartagena, Colombia

The first GP2 training workshop in Colombia took place in the vibrant city of Cartagena from February 6-7, 2024. This event brought together 22 participants from seven countries, showcasing the international reach and collaborative spirit of GP2. Led by Sara Bandres-Ciga and María Teresa Periñán Tocino, the workshop focused on advancing the participants’ bioinformatics skills by leveraging GP2 data on the Terra platform, an essential tool for PD research.

A notable highlight was the presentation by Dr. Henry Mauricio Chaparro, a medical geneticist and PhD student at Cleveland University. Dr. Chaparro delivered an exceptional lecture on variant interpretation and prioritization in PD, providing attendees with crucial insights and practical approaches to tackling genetic complexities in PD.

GP2 Bioinformatics Training Workshops – Mexico City, Mexico

Following the success in Colombia, the second GP2 training workshop was held in Mexico City from March 11-14, 2024. This event catered to different skill levels, with 17 attendees participating in the basic level training and nine in the intermediate level sessions (28 attendees in total). Paula Reyes Pérez and Víctor Flores Ocampo led the basic level training, following the GP2 “Train the Trainer” model. Alejandro Martínez Carrasco and María Teresa Periñán Tocino led the intermediate sessions.

Dr. Sergio Andres Castillo Torres, Assistant Professor in Neurology at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Leon in Monterrey and an Edmond J. Safra Fellow in Movement Disorders, enriched the workshop with a comprehensive presentation on the clinical overview of PD. His expertise provided a robust foundation for participants, enhancing their understanding of PD from a clinical perspective.

GP2 Regional Training Initiative – Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

In an ambitious effort to extend training and build research capacity in Central Asia, the GP2 Training and Networking Working Group delivered the first Regional Training Initiative at the Kyrgyz State Medical Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from March 25-27, 2024. This three-day program aimed to equip neurologists and researchers with vital knowledge and skills pertinent to PD. The initiative was driven by Cholpon Shambetova’s dedicated planning and organization, with support from GP2.

Day 1 featured lectures on understanding PD and neurogenetics, diagnostic skills, treatment modalities, and multidisciplinary care in developing contexts. The event was attended by 104 neurologists and researchers from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. Day 2 focused on clinical practice, with 33 attendees examining patients with parkinsonism and discussing genetic testing and ethical considerations. The day concluded with an informative session on research methods.

The final day concentrated on research skills relevant to PD genetics and epidemiology, covering patient enrollment, data collection, and basic genetic terminology. Attendees were also introduced to the latest technologies for studying PD genetics. The day wrapped up with an overview of the training and research opportunities available through GP2.

This comprehensive program was a big success and was delivered in both English and Russian, with simultaneous translation, ensuring accessibility for all participants. Esteemed speakers included Prof. Christine Klein, Dr. Cholpon Shambetova, Dr. Konstantin Senkevich, Dr. Edwin Jabbari, Prof. Alastair Noyce, Dr. Maria Teresa Perinan Tocino, and Mr. Sumit Dey.

Final Remarks

The GP2 Bioinformatics Training Workshops and Regional Training Initiative exemplify the global effort to advance PD genetics research. By bringing together experts and learners from diverse backgrounds, these programs foster a collaborative environment conducive to innovation and progress. As GP2 continues to expand its reach, the future of PD research looks promising, with a growing network of knowledgeable and skilled professionals dedicated to making a difference.