Meet-U: Educating through research immersion

PLoS Comput Biol. 2018 Mar 15;14(3):e1005992. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005992. eCollection 2018 Mar.

Abstract

We present a new educational initiative called Meet-U that aims to train students for collaborative work in computational biology and to bridge the gap between education and research. Meet-U mimics the setup of collaborative research projects and takes advantage of the most popular tools for collaborative work and of cloud computing. Students are grouped in teams of 4-5 people and have to realize a project from A to Z that answers a challenging question in biology. Meet-U promotes "coopetition," as the students collaborate within and across the teams and are also in competition with each other to develop the best final product. Meet-U fosters interactions between different actors of education and research through the organization of a meeting day, open to everyone, where the students present their work to a jury of researchers and jury members give research seminars. This very unique combination of education and research is strongly motivating for the students and provides a formidable opportunity for a scientific community to unite and increase its visibility. We report on our experience with Meet-U in two French universities with master's students in bioinformatics and modeling, with protein-protein docking as the subject of the course. Meet-U is easy to implement and can be straightforwardly transferred to other fields and/or universities. All the information and data are available at www.meet-u.org.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology / education*
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Humans
  • Research / education*
  • Research Design
  • Students
  • Universities

Grant support

Meet-U is supported by the Masters of Computer Science and of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Sorbonne Université / UPMC (Bioinformatics and Modeling specialty, http://www.lcqb.upmc.fr/BIM/ and http://www.master.bmc.upmc.fr/fr/02_M2/02_BioInfMod/index.php), and by the Master of Analysis, Modeling and Engineering of Biological and Medical Information at Université Paris-Saclay (http://www.bibs.u-psud.fr/). It is sponsored by the Groupement de Recherche BioInformatique Moléculaire (http://www.gdr-bim.cnrs.fr/), the Société Française de BioInformatique (https://www.sfbi.fr/), the Ecole Doctorale Structure et Dynamique des Systèmes Vivants (https://www.universite-paris-saclay.fr/fr/formation/doctorat/structure-et-dynamique-des-systemes-vivants-0#l-ecole-doctorale), the Institut de Biologie Paris Seine (http://www.ibps.upmc.fr/). AC is funded by Institut Universitaire de France (http://www.iufrance.fr/). All the calculations were performed using the academic cloud of the French Institute of Bioinformatics (https://www.france-bioinformatique.fr/en/cloud). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.