Genomics has revolutionised the way that biology is done: we now aim to investigate complete sets of components of biological systems, rather than just selected items; evolution is studied more precisely in terms of DNA sequences than of morphology; diseases can be diagnosed by their molecular profiles; and we are beginning to see the molecular mechanisms behind inter-individual differences. We are also beginning to map out and model the interactions of the components - proteins, metabolites, RNAs, DNA and various other types of molecules - in space and time.
Genomics is a fast-moving field that is driven by technology - by the reagents that we can construct and by the measurement instruments that we can build. Computational biology and its related disciplines statistics, computer science, mathematics are important to structure the massive amounts of data, to create maps of the system and eventually predictive models.
The module will begin by giving an overview over recent developments in DNA sequencing, followed by lectures on sequence alignment technologies, DNA sequence variation and basic statistical concepts in genetics. The module will also introduce you to the emerging fields of synthetic biology and personalized medicine, which go along with a system-wide understanding of how the genome shapes phenotypes.
The content of the lectures is expanded in a set of practical afternoon lab sessions. Each student can take part in one of the labs. You will obtain your participation tickets to your lab in a raffle on Monday morning; you can trade those tickets between you before the start of the labs. On Thursday afternoon, all lab groups meet in the plenum and present their project. .