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Functional Genomics and Systems Biology

18-27 June 2014

Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge

Now closed for applications. Please email to join our mailing list.

Course summary

This intensive laboratory and computer-based training course introduces participants to a wide range of post-genome techniques including practical experience in performing RNAi experiments, expression profiling using the latest platforms and hands on experience with sample preparation procedures for Illumina high throughput sequencing. Laboratory work will be complemented by training in state-of-the-art approaches to data analysis and interpretation through the use of a range of bioinformatics resources and systems biology tools, including R, Bioconductor, network analysis (e.g. BioLayout Express3D) and pathway modelling. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the integration of complementary approaches to ask specific biological questions.

The course will include seminars by distinguished international speakers who will present cutting-edge research in functional genomics and systems biology.


RNAi has recently emerged as one of the most powerful tools for examining gene function. Participants will carry out a high-throughput RNAi screen in C.elegans and this will illustrate many of the theoretical considerations in designing such large-scale RNAi experiments. Different RNAi methodologies will be discussed both for C. elegans in vivo and RNAi in mammalian cells in culture. We will also illustrate how RNAi can be combined with microarray analysis to identify pathway targets.

Practical guidance will be given in the use of commercial microarray platforms for the analysis of gene expression. This will involve participants working through the labelling of series of RNA samples, and their hybridisation to arrays. Participants will be given training in many aspects of microarray data analysis and interpretation using a range of commercial and academic software tools. Finally, there will be the opportunity to discuss the theoretical considerations for microarray experimental design and the relative merits of different expression profiling platforms, including emerging sequencing technologies.

Next generation sequencing
Labwork will involve the preparation and quality control of directional small, total and polyA RNA libraries for the Illumina HiSeq2000 genome analyser. Raw data will be collected and analysed using sequence alignment methods during the course. Further statistical, differential expression and data mining procedures will be applied.

Computational Systems Biology
An overview and discussion of current bioinformatics resources most relevant to functional genomics investigations will be provided. These will include information on using genome browsers, gene/protein annotation, microarray data repositories, protein-protein interaction data, and pathway analysis. The course will also provide instruction on the integration of data into interaction and regulatory networks and systems biology approaches to mining and modelling of these data.

Informal tutorials from academic groups and commercial organisations will complement the laboratory sessions.

Course instructors

  • Ioannis Ragoussis (McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre, Canada)
  • Andrew Fraser (University of Toronto, Canada)
  • Tom Freeman (The Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, UK)
  • Anton Enright (European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, UK)

Confirmed 2014 speakers (Additional speakers TBC shortly)

Philippe Sanseau (GSK, UK)
Sarah Teichmann (European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, UK)
Chloe Villani (Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard, USA)

Feedback from the 2013 course

“Course exceeded all my expectation. EVERYTHING was great! Personally for me all information relevant to high throughput gene expression and analysis was very useful.”
“I was really impressed with the course and I feel very proud to have been selected for the course. Thank you very much.”
“Congratulations for this course. It has been a wonderful experience to share with the participants and notable scientists.”
“I really appreciated being able to speak directly with instructors and assistants on the course so that they could advise me about my work specifically.”

How to apply

Applicants should be postdoctoral scientists or senior PhD students engaged in relevant research. Applicants with molecular biology and/or some cell culture experience will be particularly welcome.

This is a residential course and there is a fee of £995 towards board and lodging for non-commercial applicants. The fee for commercial applicants is £6000. The course tuition fees are subsidised by The Wellcome Trust for scientists based in academic institutions from anywhere in the world.

Limited bursaries are available for non-commercial applicants (up to 50% of the course fee) and are subject to open competition. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please complete the bursary section of the online application form (see below for application process).

Now closed for applications. Please email to join our mailing list.

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