Location & dates EMBL Heidelberg, Germany 9 - 12 Mar 2020
Deadlines Application closed

EMBL Courses and Conferences during the Coronavirus pandemic

With the onsite programme paused, many of our events are now being offered in virtual formats.

Registration is open as usual for many events, with back-up plans in place to move further courses and conferences online as necessary. Registration fees for any events affected by the COVID-19 disruption are fully refundable.

More information for participants of events at EMBL Heidelberg can be found here.

EMBL has taken the difficult decision to pause our programme of external courses and conferences. As a result, we are cancelling the course and apologise for the inconvenience. 

Course Overview

Minimally invasive liquid biopsies have recently emerged as novel diagnostic methods which hold the promise to monitor disease progression, detect minimal residual disease, therapy resistance and potentially even early cancer detection. Participants will gain hands-on experience in the detection of cell free tumor DNA (cfDNA) using a next generation sequencing (NGS) approach that covers all four mutation classes in a single assay. Critical aspects on recent developments to increase analytical sensitivity and mitigate sequencing errors (computational error correction) will be discussed as well as annotation, interpretation, and clinical reporting of liquid biopsy tests. Lectures will cover the evaluation of ctDNA as biomarkers, clinical applications, emerging analytes for liquid biopsy and important challenges.


The course is aimed at scientists, clinical scientists, molecular pathologists and industry researchers who would like to learn about possible applications and want to gain hands-on experience in the field of liquid biopsy from sample acquisition, target enrichment, analysis and interpretation.


  • Possible use cases of nucleic acids in blood and plasma in clinical settings
  • Strategies for the construction of high quality NGS libraries from challenging cfDNA samples (sample and molecular barcoding, low input amounts, quality controls)
  • In-solution hybridization based target enrichment of clinically relevant targets, covering all four mutation classes in a single assay (SNVs, fusions, indels, CNVs)
  • Bioinformatics analysis including integrated digital error suppression (iDES), variant calling and reporting
  • Annotation, interpretation of mutations and clinical reporting (therapy matching and optional clinical decision support)

Learning Outcomes

  • Understanding of potential applications for liquid biopsy in clinical care
  • Challenges that must be overcome before liquid biopsies can be applied in precision medicine
  • Overview of emerging liquid biopsy methods and markers
  • Ability to handle cfDNA, generate NGS libraries, enrich targets of interest, annotate and interprate of variants and their frequences


EMBL Courses and Conferences are kindly supported by our Corporate Partnership Programme

Founder partners

  • Leica logo
  • Olympus logo

Corporate partners

  • 10x Genomics_120x82
  • Becton Dickinson logo
  • Bio-Rad logo
  • Boehringer Ingelheim logo
  • Eppendorf logo
  • GSK logo
  • Milteniy Biotec logo
  • NetApp logo
  • Stilla logo
  • ThermoFisher logo

Associate partners

  • Merck logo
  • New England Biolabs logo
  • Nikon logo
  • Promega logo
  • Roche logo
  • Sanofi logo
  • Sartorius logo