Course title

Data Analysis in Genome Biology
GEN242 - Spring 2016


Name: Thomas Girke
Office location: 1207F Genomics
Office hours: Tue & Thu 4:30 - 5:30 PM


Introduction to algorithms, statistical methods and data analysis programming routines relevant for genome biology. The class consists of three main components: lectures, hands-on practicals and student course projects. The lecture topics cover databases, sequence (NGS) analysis, phylogenetics, comparative genomics, genome-wide profiling methods, network biology and more. The hands-on practicals include homework assignments and course projects focusing on data analysis programming of next generation genome data using command-line tools on a computer cluster and the programming environment R. Credit: 4 units (4 hours lecture, 2 hours discussion)

Objectives of course

  • Acquire understanding of algorithms used in bioinformatics
  • Obtain hands-on experience in large scale data analysis.


The main prerequisite for this course is a strong interest in acquiring the skills required for mastering the computational aspects of modern genome research.

Structure of course

Two lectures per week (2 hours each) plus one discussion section (1 hour). During the first weeks the discussion section will be used for data analysis tutorials using Linux command-line tools and R.


Lecture: Tue/Thu 2:10-3:30 PM
Discussion: Thu 3:40-4:30 PM


2130 CHASS Interdisciplinary Bldg-South (INST)


  1. Homework assignments: 40%
  2. Scientific paper presentation: 20%
  3. Course project presentations: 20%
  4. Final project report: 20%

Materials needed

Students are expected to bring to each class meeting a laptop with a functional wireless connection and a recent internet browser version (e.g. Firefox, Chrome or Safari) preinstalled. Tablet computers with mobile operating systems are not suitable for running the required software. User accounts on a research computer cluster will be provided at the beginning of the course. To log in to the cluster, students also need to install a terminal application for their operating system (e.g. iTerm2 on OS X or PuTTY on Windows) as well as a file exchange software such as FileZilla. In addition, a recent version of R and RStudio should be installed on each laptop.


Week Topic
Week 1 Course Introduction
  Databases and Software for Genome Biology
  Tutorial: Introduction to Linux and Biocluster
Week 2 Sequencing Technologies
  Tutorial: Introduction to R
Week 3 Sequence Alignments and Searching
  Tutorial: Programming in R
Week 4 Multiple Sequence Alignments
  Short Read Alignment Algorithms
  Tutorial: Basics of NGS Analysis
Week 5 Gene Expression Analysis using Microarrays and RNA-Seqs
  Tutorial: NGS Workflow Overview
  Tutorial: RNA-Seq Analysis
Week 6 Analysis of ChIP-Seq and VAR-Seq Experiments
  Tutorial: ChIP-Seq Analysis
  Tutorial: VAR-Seq Analysis
Week 7 Student Paper Presentations
Week 8 Clustering algorithms
  Annotation Systems and Gene Set Enrichment Analysis
  Tutorial: Gene Set Enrichment Analysis
Week 9 Profile HMMs for Protein Family Modeling
  Tutorial: Graphics and Data Visualization
Week 10 Student Project Presentations
  Final Course Discussion

Reading list

Journal articles

Alkan, C, Sajjadian, S, Eichler, E E (2011) Limitations of next-generation genome sequence assembly. Nat Methods, 8: 61-65.

Anders, S, Reyes, A, Huber, W (2012) Detecting differential usage of exons from RNA-seq data. Genome Res, 22: 2008-2017.

DePristo, M A, Banks, E, Poplin, R, Garimella, K V, Maguire, J R, Hartl, C, Philippakis, A A, del Angel, G, Rivas, M A, Hanna, M, McKenna, A, Fennell, T J, Kernytsky, A M, Sivachenko, A Y, Cibulskis, K, Gabriel, S B, Altshuler, D, Daly, M J (2011) A framework for variation discovery and genotyping using next-generation DNA sequencing data. Nat Genet, 43: 491-498.

Dobin, A., Davis, C.A., Schlesinger, F., Drenkow, J., Zaleski, C., Jha, S., Batut, P., Chaisson, M., Gingeras, T.R., 2012. STAR: ultrafast universal RNA-seq aligner. Bioinformatics 29, 15–21.

Grabherr, M G, Haas, B J, Yassour, M, Levin, J Z, Thompson, D A, Amit, I, Adiconis, X, Fan, L, Raychowdhury, R, Zeng, Q, Chen, Z, Mauceli, E, Hacohen, N, Gnirke, A, Rhind, N, di Palma, F, Birren, B W, Nusbaum, C, Lindblad-Toh, K, Friedman, N, Regev, A (2011) Full-length transcriptome assembly from RNA-Seq data without a reference genome. Nat Biotechnol, 29: 644-652.

Langmead, B, Salzberg, S L (2012) Fast gapped-read alignment with Bowtie 2. Nat Methods, 9: 357-359.

Landt et al. (2012) ChIP-seq guidelines and practices of the ENCODE and modENCODE consortia. Genome Res, 22: 1813-1831.

Li, H, Durbin, R (2009) Fast and accurate short read alignment with Burrows-Wheeler transform. Bioinformatics, 25: 1754-1760.

Machanick, P, Bailey, T L (2011) MEME-ChIP: motif analysis of large DNA datasets. Bioinformatics, 27: 1696-1697.

Soneson, C, Delorenzi, M (2013) A comparison of methods for differential expression analysis of RNA-seq data. BMC Bioinformatics, 14: 91-91.

Tompa, M, Li, N, Bailey, T L, Church, G M, De Moor, B, Eskin, E, Favorov, A V, Frith, M C, Fu, Y, Kent, W J, Makeev, V J, Mironov, A A, Noble, W S, Pavesi, G, Pesole, G, R{'e}gnier, M, Simonis, N, Sinha, S, Thijs, G, van Helden, J, Vandenbogaert, M, Weng, Z, Workman, C, Ye, C, Zhu, Z (2005) Assessing computational tools for the discovery of transcription factor binding sites. Nat Biotechnol, 23: 137-144.

Trapnell, C, Hendrickson, D G, Sauvageau, M, Goff, L, Rinn, J L, Pachter, L (2013) Differential analysis of gene regulation at transcript resolution with RNA-seq. Nat Biotechnol, 31: 46-53.

Wilbanks, E G, Facciotti, M T (2010) Evaluation of algorithm performance in ChIP-seq peak detection. PLoS One, 5.

Zeitouni, B, Boeva, V, Janoueix-Lerosey, I, Loeillet, S, Legoix-n{'e}, P, Nicolas, A, Delattre, O, Barillot, E (2010) SVDetect: a tool to identify genomic structural variations from paired-end and mate-pair sequencing data. Bioinformatics, 26: 1895-1896.


Note: there is no need to purchase any books for this course as most reading material will be based on journal articles!

General Jonathan Pevsner (2009) Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics. Wiley-Blackwell; 2nd Edition, 992 pages.

Algorithms Jones N and Pevzner P (2004) An Introduction to Bioinformatics Algorithms. MIT Press, Massachusetts, 435 pages.

Sequence Analysis Durbin, R, Eddy, S, Krogh, A, Mitchison, G. (1998) Biological Sequence Analysis: Probabilistic Models of Proteins and Nucleic Acids. Cambridge University Press, UK, 356 pages.

Parida L (2008) Pattern Discovery in Bioinformatics: Theory & Algorithms. CRC Press, London, 526 pages.

Profiling Bioinformatics Gentleman, R, Carey, V, Dudoit, S, Irizarry, R, Huber, W (2005) Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Solutions Using R and Bioconductor. Springer, New York, 473 pages.

Phylogenetics Felsenstein, J (2004) Inferring Phylogenies. Sinauer, Massachusetts, 664 pages.

Paradis (2006) Analysis of Phylogenetics and Evolution with R. Springer, New York, 211 pages.