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Computational Biology

Carsten Magnus, Tanja Stadler
Link zum Kurskatalog
Fall 2017
Familiarize the students with the basic concepts of molecular biology and the models and algorithms used to understand, classify and predict behaviour of living organism. This course is at the most basic level, where the main issues, mostly of molecular sequences, are studied.
D-ITET Master, Systems and Control specialization
Supplementary Core Courses
The course consists of four parts. We first introduce modern genetic sequencing technology, and algorithms to obtain sequence alignments from the output of the sequencers. We then present methods to directly analyze this alignment (such as BLAST algorithm, GWAS approaches). Second, we introduce mechanisms and concepts of molecular evolution, i.e. we discuss how genetic sequences change over time. Third, we employ evolutionary concepts to infer ancestral relationships between organisms based on their genetic sequences, i.e. we discuss methods to infer genealogies and phylogenies. We finally introduce the field of phylodynamics. The aim of that field is to understand and quantify the population dynamic processes (such as transmission in epidemiology or speciation & extinction in macroevolution) based on a phylogeny. Throughout the class, the models and methods are illustrated on different datasets giving insight into the epidemiology and evolution of a range of infectious diseases (e.g. HIV, HCV, influenza, Ebola). Applications of the methods to the field of macroevolution provide insight into the evolution and ecology of different species clades. Students will be trained in the algorithms and their application both on paper and in silico as part of the exercises.