March 17 to April 1, 2012 | Leipzig, Germany

An intensive 16 days programming course, organized by Katja Nowick (University of Leipzig) and Rui Faria (CIBIO-InBIO- Universidade do Porto), occurred between the 17th of March and the 1st of April in Leipzig, Germany . The aim of the course was to provide the students with the necessary background and skills to perform computational analyses with a focus on solving research questions related to genomics and evolution. The philosophy of the course was “learning by doing”, which means that the computational skills were taught using examples and real data from evolutionary biology for the exercises. Twenty-five students (PhD students, post-docs and PIs) from seventeen different nationalities were selected to participate on this course. The topics covered were: Introduction to Linux, Introduction to R, Analysis of next generation sequencing data, Analysis of structural variants, Analysis of expression data, Promoter evolution, Statistics & Inference, Introduction to Perl, Phylogenomics, Ensembl API, Introduction to databases, Visualization of scientific data, Evolution of behavior, Evolutionary ecology, Genotype to phenotype mapping, and NGS of non-model organisms.


Among the lecturers and speakers, we had the presence of Rasmus Nielsen (University of Berkeley, USA), Behn Lenher (Center for Genomic Regulation, Spain) and Tomas Marques-Bonet (University Pompeu Fabra, Spain), Jan Aerts (Leuven University, Belgium), Annalisa Marsico (Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics, Germany), Sarah London (University of Chicago, USA), Sofia Robb (University of California Riverside, USA). Besides de co-organizer Rui Faria, other CIBIO-InBIO members participated taught in this course: Stuart Baird (Lecturer), Miguel Fonseca and Tiago Carvalho (Teaching assistants).


The Volkswagen Foundation financed the course and the organizers are now preparing a second edition for 2013. For those working (or planning to) with Next Generation Sequencing data, this will be a great opportunity to start (or develop) your bioinformatics skills. With the advent of genomics and proteomics data, programming skills will be essential for the evolutionary biologists of the future. Bioinformatics is not yet a very developed field in Portugal, and courses like are an opportunity to make students more skilled and competitive in an international scientific atmosphere.

Programming for Evolutionary Biology