BIF-51806 Biological Discovery through Computation


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Group work20
Course coordinator(s)dr. MH Medema
Lecturer(s)dr. MH Medema
dr. A Kupczok
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. D de Ridder

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

BIF-50806 Practical Computing for Biologists; BIF-51306 Biological Data Analysis and Visualizaton; BIF-20306 Introduction to Bioinformatics or SSB-20306 Bioinformation Technology


Multiple types of -omics data are rapidly changing the face of biological research. In the Bioinformatics minor, students have been exposed to fundamental techniques to analyse and visualise omics data. To make effective use of them, it is imperative to connect these techniques to biological reality. This course challenges students to creatively apply their recently acquired skills to drive new biological discoveries, by designing and carrying out their own computational research project.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- formulate good research questions for computational analysis;
- apply brainstorming techniques to navigate possible solutions;
- design computational experiments to make discoveries;
- compose an innovative and realistic research proposal for a group project;
- carry out and manage computational work as a team;
- report results using effective visualisations and statistics that fit the biological content;
- describe and analyse results in a presentation and report;
- evaluate and contextualize results in the light of scientific literature.


The course will start with lectures and practicals on the formulation of research questions, brainstorming techniques and design of computational experiments. A local scientist will introduce an actual problem from his/her research. In groups, the students will formulate research strategies and hand in a short research proposal, which will undergo formal peer review. They will then work on the project for two weeks. In the final week, the groups will present their research and students will hand in individual reports.


Final marks will be based on the marks obtained for the project proposal (25%), group presentation (25%) and individual report (50%). The latter also includes the individual contribution made to the group result. For all items, the marks obtained should be at least a 5.5.


Via Brightspace.

Compulsory for: WUBIFBSc Minor Bioinformatics3WD