BCH364C BCH394P 2017

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BCH364C/BCH394P Systems Biology & Bioinformatics

Course unique #: 55120/55210
Lectures: Tues/Thurs 11 – 12:30 PM in GDC 4.302
Instructor: Edward Marcotte, marcotte @ icmb.utexas.edu

  • Office hours: Wed 11 AM – 12 noon in MBB 3.148BA

TA: Azat Akhmetov, azat @ utexas.edu

  • TA Office hours: Mon/Wed 3 PM - 4 PM in MBB 3.128A Phone: on syllabus

Lectures & Handouts

Jan 19, 2016 - Introduction

  • Today's slides
  • Some warm-up videos to get you started on Python: Code Academy's Python coding for beginners
  • We'll be conducting homework using the online environment Rosalind. Go ahead and register on the site, and enroll specifically for BCH339N using this link. Homework #1 (worth 10% of your final course grade) has already been assigned on Rosalind and is due by 11:59PM January 28.
  • A useful online resource if you get bogged down: Python for Biologists. (& just a heads-up that some of their instructions for running code relate to a command line environment that's a bit different from the default one you install following the Rosalind instructions. It won't affect the programs, just the way they are run or how you specific where files are located.) However, if you've never programmed before, definitely check this out!!!
  • An oldie (by recent bioinformatics standards) but goodie: Computers are from Mars, Organisms are from Venus

Syllabus & course outline

Course syllabus

An introduction to systems biology and bioinformatics, emphasizing quantitative analysis of high-throughput biological data, and covering typical data, data analysis, and computer algorithms. Topics will include introductory probability and statistics, basics of Python programming, protein and nucleic acid sequence analysis, genome sequencing and assembly, proteomics, synthetic biology, analysis of large-scale gene expression data, data clustering, biological pattern recognition, and gene and protein networks.

Open to biochemistry majors. Prerequisites: Biochemistry 339F or Chemistry 339K with a grade of at least C-.
Requires basic familiarity with molecular biology & basic statistics, although varied backgrounds are expected.

Note that this is not a course on practical sequence analysis or using web-based tools. Although we will use a number of these to help illustrate points, the focus of the course will be on learning the underlying algorithms and exploratory data analyses and their applications, esp. in high-throughput biology.

Most of the lectures will be from research articles and slides posted online, with some material from the...
Optional text (for sequence analysis): Biological sequence analysis, by R. Durbin, S. Eddy, A. Krogh, G. Mitchison (Cambridge University Press),

For biologists rusty on their stats, The Cartoon Guide to Statistics (Gonick/Smith) is very good. A reasonable online resource for beginners is Statistics Done Wrong.

Some online references:
An online bioinformatics course
Assorted bioinformatics resources on the web: Assorted links
Beginning Python for Bioinformatics
Online probability texts: #1, #2, #3

No exams will be given. Grades will be based on online homework (counting 30% of the grade), 3 problem sets (given every 2-3 weeks and counting 15% each towards the final grade) and an independent course project (25% of final grade). The course project will be focused on a specific gene & will involve bioinformatics research (e.g. calculation, programming, database analysis, etc.) developed over the semester in 5 mini-assignments, which will be turned in as a link to a web page that you will continue to expand over the semester. The completed final web site is due by midnight, April 27, 2016, and will be presented to the rest of the class on the last 3 class days. Each mini-assignment is 4% of the final grade; the presentation will be worth 5%.

Online homework will be assigned and evaluated using the free bioinformatics web resource Rosalind.

All projects and homework will be turned in electronically and time-stamped. No makeup work will be given. Instead, all students have 5 days of free “late time” (for the entire semester, NOT per project, and counting weekends/holidays). For projects turned in late, days will be deducted from the 5 day total (or what remains of it) by the number of days late (in 1 day increments, rounding up, i.e. 10 minutes late = 1 day deducted). Once the full 5 days have been used up, assignments will be penalized 10 percent per day late (rounding up), i.e., a 50 point assignment turned in 1.5 days late would be penalized 20%, or 10 points.

Homework, problem sets, and the project total to a possible 100 points. There will be no curving of grades, nor will grades be rounded up. We’ll use the plus/minus grading system, so: A= 92 and above, A-=90 to 91.99, etc. Just for clarity's sake, here are the cutoffs for the grades: 92% = A, 90% = A- < 92%, 88% = B+ < 90%, 82% = B < 88%, 80% = B- < 82%, 78% = C+ < 80%, 72% = C < 78%, 70% = C- < 72%, 68% = D+ < 70%, 62% = D < 68%, 60% = D- < 62%, F < 60%.

Students are welcome to discuss ideas and problems with each other, but all programs, Rosalind homework, and written solutions should be performed independently.

The final project web site is due by midnight April 27, 2016.