2024 W. Main Street, Suite A200
Durham, NC 27705-4667
Tel: (919) 668-4551
Fax: (919) 668-9198

[Intro] [Prerequisites] [Syllabus] [Schedule] [People] [Logistics] [Apply]

Computational Phyloinformatics

August 5-17 2010

An International Collaboration between BGI-Shenzhen and NESCent

This year, Computational Phyloinformatics will be traveling to BGI-Shenzhen. The BGI is China's top genomics institutes and is a leader in large-scale genome sequencing, efficient bioinformatics analyses, and innovative genetic health care research. Please consult the BGI education page [here].

The course will provide a hands-on instruction in phyloinformatics using Perl (BioPerl and Bio::Phylo) and SQL (Postgres, NCBI, TreeBASE).

Phylogenetics is key to studying evolution, systematics, comparative genomics, and bioinformatics — phylogenies are now ubiquitous in the biological literature. However, with the growth in computational power and DNA sequencing, and with ever more complex substitution models and analytical methods, it is less and less practical to run simple, one-shot analyses on a personal computer with an off-the-shelf program. As a result, we increasingly rely on custom-scripted analyses or custom-designed computational pipelines, and often on large compute machines or clusters. While books and courses on phylogenetics are common, it is harder to find information on how to script large-scale and complex analyses, or how to write your own scripts and programs.

This course aims to address this gap by introducing these skills in a practical, hands-on setting at the BGI Shenzhen in China. This year's course will focus on hands-on training in Perl and SQL and will be structured to accommodate students with less prior programming experience.

The course is divided into three parts:

  • Part I: Students bring their programming skills up to par with a review and tutorial in Perl, starting with "hello world" and ending with object oriented programming.
  • Part II: Students learn how to do large-scale phyloinformatics, such as writing scripts to automate the assembly of a large supertree and then recalibrate its branch lengths using BioPerl and Bio::Phylo
  • Part III: Students learn to design a database, write queries in SQL, store and query trees for both large trees (e.g. NCBI) and large collections of trees (e.g. TreeBASE).

Students will learn how to write basic phylogenetic or comparative analysis scripts: parsing NEXUS files; traversing and computing over trees; and making practical use of phylogenetic libraries. These skills will be learned in a biological context, touching on a diverse array of topics.


When: August 5 - August 17 2010

Beishan Industrial Zone, Yan Tian District
Shenzhen 518083, China

Application Deadline:

April 5, 2010

Target Students: The course is intended for graduate students, post-docs, and researchers in biology who are interested in developing skills in phyloinformatics
Prerequisites: Biology: A solid understanding of phylogenetics — for example, having already taken the Workshop on Molecular Evolution or equivalent coursework or experience.
  Computing: Prior experience with Perl or having studied books or tutorials on Perl prior to the course starting; and prior experience with basic operations in unix. We will offer two days of review to bring everyone up to speed, but the onus is on the students to have studied Perl ahead of time.