A one-week short course for undergraduate students from Colby College. Biological research is undergoing a rapid transformation into a data-intensive science. Advances in high-throughput sequencing enable genomic studies of any organism. Complete genomes can be readily characterized from one or more individuals enabling unprecedented studies of populations. Beyond characterizing DNA, sequencing is routinely used to characterize all RNA in a sample thereby determining the level of transcription of all genes simultaneously. The impact of sequencing technologies to study fundamental questions in biology is much like having the first telescope to study astronomy. Knowledge of how to analyze and interpret novel and existing sequence datasets has become essential for biological research.
The goal of this course is to provide hands-on training in techniques in data intensive discovery. We will analyze a gene expression dataset generated using high-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq). The experiment was designed to examine the response of human airway smooth muscle cells to two common asthma medications. Even though this dataset was published in 2014, we will demonstrate how reanalysis of freely-accessible public data may reveal novel hypotheses.
This course is supported by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103423.