3-6 April 2017
CSC - IT Center for Science
Europe/Helsinki timezone


Metagenomics investigates the composition and function of microbial communities in different environments based on direct isolation of genetic material. It has been accelerated by the advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies, and the increasing data sizes require efficient analysis methods and advanced computing approaches.

This international workshop covers metagenomics analysis from quality control, filtering and assembly to taxonomic classification, functional assignment and comparative metagenomics. In addition to covering the analysis of whole genome shotgun sequencing data, the workshop has also an optional day on community analysis of amplicon sequencing data. Finally, international databases and standards for storing the data are introduced.

The workshop consists of lectures and hands-on exercises. User-friendly analysis platforms META-pipe and Chipster are used in the exercises, so no programming skills are required, and the workshop is thus suitable for everybody.

  • META-pipe has been developed by ELIXIR-Norway, and it offers tools for pre-processing (Prinseq, FastQC), assembly (MetaRay/Ray, Mira), taxonomic classification (LC-classifier), gene prediction (Glimmer/MGA), functional analysis (Blast, Priam, InterProScan) and visualization (Metarep). META-pipe analysis jobs use a Spark cluster in the cloud for computation.
  • Chipster offers over 360 analysis tools for different kinds of high-thoughput data. For community analysis of amplicon sequencing data it has tools for pre-processing (Prinseq, Trimmomatic, FastQC, Mothur), taxonomic classification (Mothur), and statistical analysis for marker gene studies (R packages vegan, rich, biodiversityR, pegas and labdsv). 

The workshop is organized in collaboration with the ELIXIR EXCELERATE project.


  • Nils Willassen (ELIXIR-Norway)
  • Espen Robertsen (ELIXIR-Norway)
  • Erik Hjerde (ELIXIR-Norway)
  • Inge Alexander Raknes (ELIXIR-Norway)
  • Rob Finn (EBI)
  • Anu Mikkonen (University of Jyväskylä)
  • Jenni Hultman (University of Helsinki)
  • Petri Auvinen (University of Helsinki)
  • Jarno Tuimala (RS training)
  • Maria Lehtivaara (CSC)
  • Kimmo Mattila (CSC)
  • Eija Korpelainen (CSC)


Please note that there might be still small changes to the schedule.

Day 1, Monday 3.4.2017: OPTIONAL MODULE - Community analysis of amplicon sequencing data

9:00-10:45 LECTURES

  • Who's there? Community analysis by amplicon sequencing (Anu Mikkonen)
  • Short demo: Using QIIME in parallel fashion in HPC environments (Kimmo Mattila)

10:45-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-12:30 HANDS-ON SESSION: Using the Chipster software to analyze 16S rRNA data (Eija Korpelainen, Maria Lehtivaara, Anu Mikkonen)

  • Introduction to Chipster
  • Data preprocessing with Mothur-based tools and FastQC

12:30-13:30 Lunch

13:30-16:30 HANDS-ON SESSION: Using Chipster continues (Eija Korpelainen, Maria Lehtivaara, Anu Mikkonen and Jarno Tuimala) // coffee break included

  • Data preprocessing with Mothur-based tools
  • Taxonomic classification with Mothur-based tools
  • Statistical analysis of marker gene data: Comparing diversity and abundance between groups
  • Visualization

Day 2, Tuesday 4.4.2017: Sample preparation, sequencing, quality control, filtering and assembly

9:00-12:30 LECTURES

  • 9:00-10:15 Selecting and preparing samples for metaomics (Anu Mikkonen)

    Your samples are only as good as your sample preparation routines are, and your results are only as valid as your experimental design is. This talk will discuss, showing plenty of real-life examples, all the things that can go wrong before you even send your DNA samples out for the sequencing. The talk includes lots of practical recommendations on what to do before, or sometimes instead of, metagenomics analysis.

  • 10:15-10:45 Sequencing technologies for metagenomics (Petri Auvinen)

10:45-11:00 Coffee break

  • 11:00-11:30 Metagenomics analysis – an overview (Nils Willassen)

  • 11:30-12:00 META-pipe analysis platform overview (Espen Robertsen, Erik Hjerde)

  • 12:00-12:30 Metagenomics in the cloud (TBD)

12:30-13:15 Lunch

13:15-16:30 HANDS-ON EXERCISES: Using the META-pipe platform (Nils Willassen, Espen Robertsen, Erik Hjerde) / / coffee break included

  • Quality control and filtering
  • Assembly
  • Validation

Day 3, Wednesday 5.4.2017: Taxonomic and functional analysis

9:00-11:30 LECTURES

  • 9:00-9:30 Providing the generalist EBI metagenomics platform: challenges and issues (Rob Finn)
  • 9:30-9:50 The metagenomics data life-cycle: standards and best practice (Rob Finn)
  • 9:50-10:20 New data resources for marine metagenomics (Nils Willassen)

10:20-10:35 Coffee break

  • 10:35-11:15 Taxonomic classification and functional assignment (Espen Robertsen, Erik Hjerde)

11:15-12:00 HANDS-ON EXERCISES: Using the META-pipe platform (Nils Willassen, Espen Robertsen, Erik Hjerde)

  • Introduction, taxonomic classification

12:00-13:00 Lunch

13:00-16:30 HANDS-ON EXERCISES: Using the META-pipe platform continued (Nils Willassen, Espen Robertsen, Erik Hjerde) / / coffee break included

  • Taxonomic classification continued
  • Functional assignment

Day 4, Thursday 6.4.2017: Comparative metagenomics and other analysis

9:00-12:00 HANDS-ON EXERCISES: Using the META-pipe platform continued (Nils Willassen, Espen Robertsen, Erik Hjerde) / / coffee break included

  • Visualization of data
  • Comparative metagenomics

12:00-13:00 Lunch


  • 13:00-13:35 Arctic metagenomes as a scaffold for understanding metatranscriptomic data (Jenni Hultman)
  • 13:35-14:00 Genome assembly from metagenomic reads (Jenni Hultman)
  • 14:00-14:30 Feedback and wrap up


Language:  English
Price:          Free of charge

CSC - IT Center for Science
Main Auditorim LSC, CSC training rooms Dogmi and Debatti, 1st floor
Life Science Center, Keilaranta 14, Espoo, Finland

How to reach us

CSC is located in Keilaniemi, Espoo, 10 km west of the Helsinki City Center. Detailed information is available here.


We recommend choosing a few hotels that are most close to our premises. The nearest hotel is Radisson Blu Espoo, which is in a walking distance (only 500 m) from CSC. Another hotel close to the venue (1,8 km) is Sokos Hotel Tapiola Garden. Other hotels are located in Helsinki' downtown with a frequent and fast bus connection to Keilaniemi. Please note, that there are no special rates for participants at any hotels.

If you have any questions, please click on the support link on the left to send an e-mail to the local organizers.