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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Postgraduate

Postgraduate Course: Introduction to Bioinformatics (PGBI11137)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course provides an introduction to bioinformatics - the computational analysis of DNA and protein sequences and associated data. It is targeted to students who wish to gain understanding and skills in bioinformatics, whether out of general interest or to use in their projects, employment or future research. The course is intended to leave students in a position where they can understand bioinformatics in the scientific literature and investigate themselves how to perform additional analyses, as appropriate to their topic of study. The course assumes very little prior knowledge. Some basic understanding of DNA is helpful, otherwise additional reading will be required.

This course is delivered entirely online.
Course description The course begins with some major, inspiring bioinformatics applications and consideration of ethics. This is followed by either an introduction to biology (including evolution and the Central Dogma) or an introduction to scientific computing (use of a Linux server). Students choose which to take on the basis of their own background, and online materials from both streams will be available to all students on the course. Subsequently, the course covers the theory and practice of major topics in bioinformatics, including sequence alignment, genome sequencing, protein sequence models and phylogeny reconstruction. During these topics the major public bioinformatics databases will be used. A range of other topics are covered briefly, leaving students in a position to cover these in more detail through self-study after the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Bioinformatics 1 (INFR11160) OR Bioinformatics Programming and System Management (PGBI11095)
Other requirements None
Additional Costs n/a
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 10 x weekly multiple choice quizzes (1% each; total 10%)
2 in-course assignments (40% and 50% each; total 90%)
Feedback Verbal whole-class and specific feedback will be given in the tutorials. The weekly ungraded quiz provides automatic summative feedback. Written feedback will be provided on the two assignments.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Choose current bioinformatics tools and techniques appropriate to specific questions in molecular biology and phylogeny.
  2. Design and apply bioinformatics analyses ethically and correctly.
  3. Critically evaluate bioinformatics analyses in the scientific literature.
  4. Summarise bioinformatics analyses in writing with a level of repeatability appropriate for the scientific literature.
  5. Draw conclusions from bioinformatics analyses with careful attention to strength of evidence and uncertainty.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Computational thinking. Interdisciplinarity. Data analysis.
Special Arrangements This course has a Thursday Week 10 clash with Applications of Synthetic Biology (PGBI11094). Students may still take both courses but will need to arrange a solution with both Course Organisers for that week.
Additional Class Delivery Information Office Hours drop-in session, Weeks 1-10: Tuesday 9:00-10:00 AM, repeated Tuesday 5:00-6:00 PM (students are advised to attend one).
Tutorial, Weeks 1-10: Thursday 4:00-6:00 PM, repeated Friday 9:00 AM-11:00 AM and Friday 4:00-6:00 PM (students attend one).
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Daniel Barker
Tel: (0131 6)51 7812
Course secretaryMr Alex Ramsay
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