Bioinformatics Research Skills 1 module (BS32031)

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Semester: 2

Bioinformatics is the management, analysis and modelling of biological data. As modern biological research becomes ever more data rich, the skills required to ask new questions and rapidly filter and process these data should be a part of the biologist’s toolkit.

This module takes you from being an end user of bioinformatics applications to one who is developing the skills required for successful manipulation and processing of biological data. We start with data management skills using the Unix operating system – a common base for bioinformatics applications. The bulk of the module is taken up with getting started with programming in Python, probably the most common language in use in biology after English. Finally we introduce good record keeping and version control. In other words electronic record keeping so that our analyses are reproducible.

This module is predicated on you wanting to solve problems, and equipping yourselves with the tools to do so. It is mostly self-driven – lectures and problems delivered via video with on-line labs. These are supported with a weekly face to face tutorial. Assessment is a mixture of coursework and a problem solving timed assessment under open book exam conditions.

If you choose this module, you need to be self-motivated, curious and tenacious. One of the key skills is learning how to find the resources to use for successful problem solving. Successful completion will give you a useful tool set for application to many other areas, not least data analysis projects, and a skillset that is attractive to employers.

All the software used is open source and available to run on Mac, PC and Linux desktops.