CPBS 7711:
Methods and Tools in Biomedical Informatics

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-3:30pm
RC-1 South Tower, Room L18-6107
Anschutz Medical Campus, UC Denver

Prof. Larry Hunter  
Office: RC-1 S. Room L18-6101  
Phone: 303-724-3574  
E-mail: Larry.Hunter@ucdenver.edu  
Office hours by appointment  

TA Nicolle Witte  
E-mail: nicolle.witte@ucdenver.edu 
Office hours by appointment  


Purpose This course is central to the educational mission of our Computational Bioscience PhD program. Please take the time to review the educational mission statement

Course description 

An introduction to the theory and practice of bioinformatics and computational biology. Topics include: the analysis of macromolecular sequences, structures, gene expression arrays, proteomics, and management of the biological literature. Requirements and prerequisites

Goals for the course: The course will familiarize students with the tools and principles of contemporary bioinformatics. By the end of the course, students will have a working knowledge of a variety of publicly available data and computational tools important in bioinformatics, and a grasp of the underlying principles that is adequate for them to evaluate and use novel techniques as they arise in the future.

This course is also the beginning of the transition from well-educated students to independent researchers. The work in the course involves a series of supervised activities that introduce the activities of research. These will include:
  • Formulating an effective research plan
  • Critiquing the research plans of others
  • Revising research plans in light of critique
  • Reporting on research results, orally and in writing
  • Reviewing manuscripts that report on research results

This is a team-taught course. You will get a chance to meet and interact with many of the instructors in the computational bioscience program. Prof. Hunter is the course director; please raise any concerns or questions about the course with him. If you have questions about the materials presented, please start by talking with the T.A.

Much of the material presented in this course will be in the form of lectures. Generally, we dislike lecture courses, but there is so much material that you have to know in order to be a well educated researcher in bioinformatics (and to pass the preliminary exam!) that we feel we have no choice. Do know that we want you to ask questions, raise topics you'd like to know more about, and otherwise make this course more your own.


  • Check this area for announcements about the course.


Each of the following topics will be covered in one or more class lectures. This list is tentative until the lecture is posted. Lecture notes, readings and external links will be posted here before or after each class depented on speaker preference. The professor for each topic is indicated by last name. Classes will be held in RC1N - P18 6123.

8/31/2015 Welcome/What is Bioinformatics Hunter
Educational Mission

9/3/2015 Genetics Ghosh
Link to Powerpoint

9/8/2015 Sci Comm: Class Project Overview Hunter

NIH's Grants information page
NIH's general review process. Pay particular attention to the Review Criteria.
NIH's information page for peer reviewers and applicants. There is a FAQ, writing advice, and tips.
Martin Kryzwinski's great web site for making better figures.
9/10/2015 Statistics Kechris
Link to Powerpoint

9/15/2015 RNA seq/Chipseq/Methylseq De
Link to Powerpoint

9/17/2015 Molbio Databses Dowell
Link to Powerpoint


9/22/2015 Software Testing Cohen

9/24/2015 Biomedical Natural Language Processing Cohen

9/29/2015 Expression Array Analysis Phang
Link to Powerpoint

10/1/2015 Genome Analysis Costello


10/5/2015 Sci Comm: How to propose research and review proposals Hunter

10/8/2015Machine Learning Leach

10/13/2015 Microbiome and MetagenomicsLozupone

10/15/2015 Sequence Search and Alignment Miller

10/20/2015 Multiple Sequence Alignment Walmsley

10/22/2015 Sequence Assembly and NextGen sequencing Leach

10/27/2015 Computational Phylogeny Pollock

10/29/2015 PPI Networks Goldberg

11/3/3015 Protein Structure and Prediction Strong

11/5/2015 Molecular Mechanics, Dynamics, Docking Strong

--Send to TA for distribution for peer review

11/12/2015 BioViz Goerg

11/17/2015 TED Talks #2

11/19/2015 SciComm: Reviewing Journal Articles Kechris


11/24/2015 Peer Review of Preliminary Proposals Hunter


11/26/2015 NO CLASS--Thanksgiving Holiday

12/1/2015 Present reveiws of journal articles Kechris

12/3/2015 SciComm: Presenting Research Orally/Conference Participation Hunter

12/8/2015 Knowledge Based Analysis Hunter

12/10/2015 NO CLASS--Rocky Conference 2015
12/15/2015 Present Project Proposals (All Faculty)


The goal of this course is to get you familiar with the use of bioinformatics techniques in addressing real scientific problems. Grading will be largely on the basis of a course project. The project will involve several stages: producing a project plan, revising your plan in light of critique, and an oral presentation of the project plan. The project will be executed in 7712 in the 2nd semester (including a presentation of a progress report, a final oral presentation, and a final written presentation). In addition to this work, you will be required to produce written critiques of others' research plans. The dedication and intensity you bring to these tasks is a good predictor of your likely success as an independent researchers, so we will add a subjective component to your grade that reflects what the faculty believe is the level of effort and committment you show toward the work; this includes showing up for class prepared, participating actively in discussions and activities, and in your ability to get high quality work done in the face of the many other requirements on your time (yes, including core).

While it may be hard for you to wrap your head around, no one will ever care about the grades you get in graduate school (assuming you pass, of course). Now the important thing is to make the transition to producing significant, original research that will make an impact on a broad community. Your ability to master existing material (both in textbooks and in original research publications) is assumed, and will be tested during your preliminary exam. What we hope to teach in this course (and will be evaluating you on) is the development of a creative and scholarly approach to doing new science.

Honor Code

The Graduate School requires that this honor code be included in all course syllabi.

Education at the University of Colorado, Denver is conducted under the honor system. All students who have entered health professional programs should have developed the qualities of honesty and integrity, and each student should apply these principles to his or her academic and subsequent professional career. All students are also expected to have achieved a level of maturity, which is reflected by appropriate conduct at all times.

Note that our educational mission statement includes even stronger goals for your professional behavior. Please feel free to raise issues related to those goals in class.

Computational Bioscience Program home page | Professor Hunter's home page