2017-2018 / GBIO0009-1

Topics in bioinformatics


25h Th, 15h Pr, 35h Proj.

Number of credits

 Master in data science (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master of science in computer science and engineering (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in data science and engineering (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in computer science (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in bio-informatics and modelling (120 ECTS)6 crédits 


Kristel Van Steen

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

In this course an introduction to the bioinformatics discipline is given. We do so by introducing the students to several analysis work flows corresponding to different research questions.
Typical topics that are covered in this course include:

  • The value of bioinformatics data bases
  • DNA sequence exploration
  • DNA sequence comparison
  • Phylogenetics
  • Genome-wide association screening using SNP chip arrays
  • DNA sequence association analysis
  • Gene network inference
The content of the course may be adapted during the course of the year, depending on the need to spend more time on particular subtopics.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

At the end of the course, students have an idea about what bioinformatics entails as a profession. Since this course is an introductory course, students will be evaluated about key concepts related to each subtopic, rather than in-depth understanding of each subfield.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

The course requires a good knowledge of biomedicine or informatics.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The course is in part based on interactive ex-cathedra lectures and in part on interactive practical sessions. The exercise sessions allow students to become familiar with the theoretical concepts introduced during the theory classes. They prepare students to successfully carry out their homework assignments.
Regarding the homework assignments, three homework styles may be presented: 1) literature-based (i.e., discussing a paper related to the class topic); 2) programming-based (i.e., targeting students with a strong informatics background); 3) classic style (i.e., questions-answers type of homework). Students can work in groups but should select at least 2 styles throughout the course and at least once a literature-based homework. The latter are presented and discussed in class, to further clarify concepts covered during the theoretical or practical course sessions.

Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)


Recommended or required readings

Since a variety of « hot » topics are covered, there is no single textbook. Useful references will be given as the course progresses. All course material is posted on the course website, which can be accessed via 

Assessment methods and criteria

Students are assessed via homework assignments and on the basis of an oral exam in the first session. Submitting all homework assignments in time is essential to pass this course.
In the second session, students will need to redo the homework for which they performed worst, as well as take an oral examination.
The oral exams are open book and may cover material from both the theoretical and practical sessions.

Work placement(s)

Organizational remarks

Language: English
Please consult the course website for practical and more detailed information, including course note material and homework assignments.


Kristel Van Steen - e-mail kristel.vansteen@ulg.ac.be
Assistant: to be determined
Preferred contact mode: e-mail (include GBIO0009 in the subject title) or personal contact after a lecture or by appointment