• Header of Genetics and Genomics at Transmitting Science

Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

2nd Edition

An introduction to Metagenomics and Metabarcoding

April 1st-5th, 2019, Crete (Greece)

Genetics and Genomics

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An introduction to Metagenomics and Metabarcoding

Course Overview

Metagenomics is the study of the collection of genomes in an environment. Environments as diverse as Antarctic lakes, hot springs, or the human gut can be biologically characterized by extracting and sequencing DNA from samples taken from them. A characteristic of many of these samples is their complexity, posing difficulties to their analysis and characterization. However, metagenomics allows the taxonomic and functional characterization of samples. These two kinds of characterizations also enable the comparison of different habitats for biodiversity assessment.

In this course students will be introduced to the command line environment used to analyze high-throughput sequencing data (HTS). The initial cleaning steps that must be performed on every HTS dataset will be described and we will use the processed data for proper functional and taxonomical characterization of a metagenomic dataset. We will use methods such as mapping to whole genome databases, de novo assembly, gene annotation, building of non-redundant gene catalogue, and metagenomic species concept identification. Due to the wide usage of metabarcoding for the taxonomic characterization of an environment, we will also discuss amplicon sequencing strategies and data analysis. The course will be based on both theory and hands-on exercises.



Servili Tilissos
715 00 Heraklion, Crete (Greece)


April 1st-5th, 2019




40 hours on-site.

This course is equivalent to 2 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) at the Life Science Zurich Graduate School.

The recognition of ECTS by other institutions depends on each university or school.


Places are limited to 20 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate at the end of it.


M. Lisandra Zepeda-Mendoza instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. M. Lisandra Zepeda-Mendoza
Chr. Hansen – Bacterial Physiology & Improvement


Haris Saslis coordinator for Transmitting Science

Dr. Haris Saslis
Transmitting Science


Graduate or postgraduate degree in Life Sciences and basic knowledge of Statistics and Genetics. Prior experience with bioinformatics is not required but some experience with running commands in R or Linux will be a plus.

All participants must bring their own personal laptop (Windows, Macintosh, Linux). Participants with PC’s operating Windows on them will be asked to install VirtualBox with Ubuntu (free of cost). Instructions will be sent prior to the beginning of the course.


Monday, April 1st, 2019.

  • Terminal:
    • Introduction to shell / R.
  • Raw data manipulation:
    • Quality control.
    • Cleaning.

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019.

  • Reference-based analysis:
    • Mapping.
  • Reference-free analyses I:
    • De novo assembly.
  • Reference-free analyses II:
    • Ab initio gene prediction.
    • Annotation.
  • Metagenomic species concept.

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019.

  • Filtering:
    • Threshold decision making.
    • Core identification.
  • Taxonomic and functional profiling I:
    • General characterization.
  • Taxonomic and functional profiling II:
    • Metabolic pathways.

Thursday, April 4th, 2019.

  • Statistical analyses:
    • Abundance.
    • PCA.
    • Significance tests.
  • Metabarcoding:
    • DAMe.
    • QIIME.

Friday, April 5th, 2019.

  • Putting results into context:
    • Design challenges and biological context.
  • Group presentations.
  • Questions.


  • Course Fee
  • Early bird (until December 31st, 2019):
  • 540 *
  • Regular (after December 31st, 2019):
  • 675 *
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches (VAT included).
    * Participants from companies/industry will have an extra charge of 100 €.
  • Course Fee + Accommodation Package
  • Early bird (until December 31st, 2019):
  • 540 * + 350 = 890
  • Regular (after December 31st, 2019):
  • 675 * + 350 = 1025
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks, transportation from and to Heraklion city, accommodation from Sunday to Friday, breakfasts, lunches and dinners (VAT included).
    * Participants from companies/industry will have an extra charge of 100 €.

20 % discount will be applied to your fee If you belong to any of the Institutions listed HERE. Discounts (see Funding below) are not cumulative and apply only on the fee.

We offer the possibility of paying in two instalments (contact the course coordinator).


If you take the Accommodation Package option you will be hosted in Arolithos (take a look at the venue), in shared twin rooms with a shared bathroom, although you will only share rooms with other classmates. The possibility exists that rooms will be mixed. Therefore, if this is an inconvenience for you, and you require staying in a room with only women or only men, please indicate so in the “Comments” field of the Registration form (see below).

A supplemental charge will be added if you prefer to stay in a single room with private bathroom.

If you do not want the Accommodation Package, there are several accommodation options in Heraklion. However please be aware that it takes about 25 minutes by car from Heraklion to Arolithos and there is no public transport between both. Therefore course participants will find that staying in Arolithos is more convenient.

How to get to Arolithos from Heraklion, Chania or Rethimnon.

Arolithos street

Arolithos street (Heraklion, Crete, Greece)

Arolithos twin room

Arolithos twin room (Heraklion, Crete, Greece)

Arolithos twin room

Arolithos twin room (Heraklion, Crete, Greece)


Course Schedule
  • Monday to Friday:
    • 9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
    • 13:30 to 15:00 Lunch (included).
    • 15:00 to 19:00 Lessons.
Accommodation Package Schedule
  • Sunday:
    • 19:00 Meeting point at Heraklion Archaeological Museum (Heraklion) to take the bus to Arolithos. If you are planning to arrive later, you can find more information on the Arolithos website.
    • 19:30 Registration in the Youth Hostel.
    • 20:00 Dinner.
  • Monday to Thursday:
    • 8:30 to 9:00 Breakfast.
    • 20:30 Dinner.
  • Friday:
    • 8:30 to 9:00 Breakfast.
    • 19:00 Meeting point in the Hotel to take the bus to The Archaeological Museum.
    • 19:45 Arrival at Heraklion.

    The schedule is approximate; it is possible that the content of one day may run into the next and a working day may be longer than advertised.



Former participants will have a 5 % discount on the Course Fee.

Furthermore, a 20 % discount on the Course Fee is offered for members of some organizations (Organizations with discount). If you want to apply to this discount please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later).

Unemployed scientists living in Greece, as well as PhD students based in Greece without any grant or scholarship to develop their PhD, could benefit from a 40 % discount on the Course Fee. If you want to ask for this discount, please contact the course coordinator. That would apply for a maximum of 2 places and they will be covered by strict inscription order.

Discounts are not cumulative and apply only on the fee, not to Accommodation Package or other options.


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