Postdoc Manuel Tardaguila won for his poster titled, “Curation and Annotation of PacBio Transcriptomes.” Conesa is a professor in the department of microbiology & cell science.
Tardaguila was likely the only contestant who entered not thinking of the prize.
“My main goal was to make the work we do with the Conesa lab more known in the university,” he said. “I was not in it to win for sure– I wanted to do the best I could.”
The Conesa lab works in bioinformatics, developing software and other methods for analyzing gene expression data.
The poster Tardaguila presented focused on multiple topics: alternative splicing events (ASE) in mammals, long read next generation sequencing (NGS) programs for analyzing ASE and curating transcriptomes in order to remove artifactual transcripts incurred during analysis experimental manipulation and analysis.
To study this, he analyzed how neural stem cells differentiate to oligodendrocytes as a means of investigating how alternative splicing events occur in neurological disorders.
After using the long read NGS program to produce a transcriptome detailing the alternative splicing events, he further curated the data to identify any unnecessary artifactual transcripts produced by the program during experimental manipulation and analysis.
Doing this enabled him to pare down the results of the analysis to only what was relevant to understanding the functional outcome of alternative splicing events.
Conesa praised the innovativeness of Tardaguila’s research. She said she thinks it will enable researchers working with the latest transcriptomics platforms to improve their data analysis
“I am very happy that Manuel won this award, because he has been working very hard on this project, and he deserves this recognition,” Conesa said. “I am also not surprised of the prize, because he is a great communicator, and can explain his science with a lot of enthusiasm.”
Tardaguila said his next project is to develop software to enable a computer to be able to perform this process.