BIO2010 - Data Science for Biologists

General Unit Information

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Professional biologists with the skills to design experiments and analyse data are essential for identifying and responding to society’s urgent environmental, biomedical, and social challenges. This unit provides the approaches and tools that enable curious and creative minds to collect, analyse, and understand complex biological data. Drawing on a variety of examples from biology, genetics, and the biomedical sciences, we focus first on constructing impactful and testable research questions and designing rigorous experiments to match. We then introduce modern data science methods, using the R statistical environment, that make exploring, visualising, and analysing complex biological data as fast and as fluent as possible. Throughout the unit we work in small groups to promote hands-on problem solving and peer-assisted debate, culminating in a student-led research project on a variety of biological and genetic topics. The combination of training in critical thinking, data science using R, communication, and team work, will provide you with a demonstrable skill set that is highly-valued in a variety of traditional and emerging scientific careers, or for further undergraduate and honours study.

Learning outcomes

  1. Construct, test, and evaluate scientific hypotheses in biology;
  2. Design and optimise sampling programs and experiments for answering biological questions;
  3. Select and justify the most appropriate analysis for a biological dataset and research question;
  4. Summarise, visualise and analyse datasets using the programming tools of R;
  5. Critically evaluate biological data and make inferences from analyses.

Specific Unit Information

NamesDr Matthew Hall
Office Location17/G30D
Office HoursBy appointment - please e-mail
Technical Coordinator
Names:Danielle Annese
Office Location25Rnf/114
RecommendedThe Analysis of Biological Data (2014) Second edition. Michael C. Whitlock and Dolph Schluter. W. H. Freeman
 Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists. Quinn, G.P. & M. J. Keough (2003). Cambridge University Press.
 Getting started with R: An introduction for biologists (2017). Second Ed. only. Andrew P. Beckerman and Owen L. Petchey. Oxford.
 Asking Questions in Biology. A Guide to Hypothesis Testing, Experimental Design and Presentation in Practical Work and Research Projects. Gilbert, G., Mcgregor, P. and C. Barnard (2011). 4th ed., Pearson Education Ltd.
Program for 2020
University Handbook EntryBIO2010 - Synopsis, Assessment & Prerequisites
ScheduleBIO2010 - Lecture & Practical Schedule for 2020
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