This year’s RESIST Bioinformatics Summer School looks at the basics

“Bioinformatics is the art of processing and visualising data in order to gain new insights into biology and medicine,” says Prof. Otto from the University of Glasgow. As in the previous year, he led this year’s RESIST-funded bioinformatics course at the MHH from 22 to 26 June. The course taught 17 scientists how to process “sequencing reads” – regions of DNA or RNA that can be read with a single sequencing reaction – in Linux in order to then analyse the data using the R programming language.

The course focuses in particular on the processing of data in the Linux operating system. “The participants learnt how to correctly process raw data generated by sequencing machines,” explains Prof. Otto. One focus was on the visualisation of this data in order to identify possible peculiarities. These steps were processed on the MHH’s High Performance Computing Cluster “Leine”. For example, the aim was to find mutations in order to understand why a parasite is resistant to a drug or what effect switching off a gene has.

As in the previous year, one of the course contents was the processing of expression data in the programming language R. Towards the end of the course, the participants were able to process and present their own data. “Compared to last year, more of our own data was available, which reflects the innovations in RESIST,” says Prof. Otto. He was supported by Erik Fuhrmann as an active tutor and the RESIST management and Prof. Depledge played a key role in organising the course.