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Monday 14th April 2014

Aims and Objectives

The Turing Gateway to Mathematics held a half day event on Metagenomics - Insights from Mathematical, Statistical and Computational Research on Monday 14th April 2014. This Open for Business half day event was part of an Isaac Newton Institute research programme which brought together leading expertise in the multiple disciplines involved in metagenomics. A key aim of this workshop was to highlight the latest state-of-the art models and methods which have been developed in this area and to share this information between industry and academic experts.

Leading researchers from the programme covering areas such as mathematics (including probability and statistics), the computer sciences, biomedical sciences and biology were involved. Those taking part heard about the latest models and techniques being developed and how these translate to possible end user applications. The event provided the opportunity for networking and investigating of potential collaborations.

Examples of areas that were included in the discussion session were:

  • Methods for metagenome sequence assembly
  • New methods for microbial profiling of agricultural and industrial processes
  • The role that metagenomics is able to play in an industrial context.


Metagenomics is the study of the total genomic content of microbial communities. In metagenomic studies, DNA material is sampled collectively from the microorganisms that populate the environment of interest (e.g. agricultural soil, ocean water, or the human gut). The extracted DNA sequences are subsequently used to profile the environment and its biodiversity, its dominant microbial classes or biological functions, and whether and how this profile differs from those of other environments. The impact of metagenomics in our understanding of the natural world has been, and will continue to be, revolutionary and profound. Insights derived from metagenomic studies have become increasingly relevant in areas as diverse as human health, bioenergy, environmental sciences and paleontology.