SorghumBase Training Workshop for Early Career Scientists Held at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

This past December, the SorghumBase team welcomed early career researchers from multiple labs to CSHL for training on the SorghumBase database. Ran Tian and Adil Khan from Yingping Jiao’s lab at Texas Tech; Linly Banda from Davina Rhodes’ group; Clara Cruet Burgos out of Geoff Morris’ laboratory; and Brooklyn Schumaker from Patricia Klein’s lab at TAMU arrived at Cold Spring Harbor during the biennial plant biology meeting to become familiar with the myriad tools that SorghumBase provides while also providing valuable feedback as researchers with diverse backgrounds and use cases.

The scientists were given in-depth training and background into the rationale for the Plant Reactome pathway views, gene expression information, phylogenetic trees and gene annotations, as well as gene curation. SorghumBase allows users to identify published studies describing gene function and to flag potentially incorrect gene models for manual curation.

Community engagement was emphasized in the context of shepherding experimental data and metadata into shared resources like ENA, EVA and GRIN in order to ensure research data on SorghumBase are Findable, Accessable, Interoperable, Reusable (FAIR). In addition, the SorghumBase site was reviewed and discussions were held on how to make improvements; from bulk data access, APIs, and user accessibility to the kinds of training materials and news items that would be most meaningful to stakeholders at large. This included potential future tools, datasets, and visualizations. One suggestion for easier access to gene sequences has already been implemented.

Going forward, the SorghumBase team will continue to implement the feedback received and apply the lessons learned to future training bootcamps and community outreach efforts to enhance the SorghumBase user experience and maximize the database’s impact on sorghum improvement.