Center for Computational and Theoretical Biology

This course aims to integrate all research fields present in the CCTB, teaching the students how to work in a multidisciplinary team to tackle questions ranging from:  1) handling and analysis of big data; 2) investigating study questions related to evolutionary history, phylogenetic relationships, genomic associations and ecological drivers of species occurrences, phenotypes and interactions; 3) finding solutions to interpret images and automatically perform image analyses; 4) exploring the role of various eco-evolutionary mechanisms influencing biodiversity across ecological levels of organization (genomes, individuals, populations, communities, ecosystems). 

During the course the students have lectures providing the theoretical background directly followed by practical exercises. With such a workplan, the students get acquainted with the research questions, methods and techniques employed in the various groups of the CCTB. The common topic for these exersizes are given by a task force to unveil the secrets of a hypothetical, newly discovered, Earth-like planet. Using different types of data (pictures of the surface, genetic samples, environmental characterization) sent to a multidisciplinary team based on Earth from probes orbiting the fictionary planet, the students learn to deal with computational techniques in various biology fields towards a common goal, namely: What can we learn from its biosphere? Is it possible to colonize the planet? How is the impact of a human colony gone be to the local ecosystem? 

2 hours per week during the summer semesters, SFQ, graded (5 credits).