With the development of high-throughput molecular technologies in the recent years, the fields of biology, biomedicine, and agriculture become data-rich fields and, consequently, there is an increasing need for biologists trained in data analysis.
The aim of this highly intensive Research Summer School and Workshop in Statistical Omics is training of a new generation of the Statistical Omics scientists who understand biology and technology behind the data and can apply modern methods to analysis of these data. In two weeks of work on a cutting-edge scientific projects participants are introduced to highly relevant real-world problems related to the fields of glycomics and genomics and gain experience of programming in R programming language. The School consists of project-based training-through-research and series of lectures designed to introduce students with biological/biomedical/biochemical background to statistical analyses of multiple omics datasets. Selected participants spend two weeks learning and working on a project in a small groups of up to 5 students. Morning sessions are planned for the lectures that are intended to give overview of the current state-of-the-art methods used in the field and corresponding theoretical background for practical sessions that will be held in the afternoons. First two days are dedicated to introduction to the field of Statistical Omics and selection of projects. All projects are be presented by project leaders and students will choose the project they wish to work on. The groups are formed balancing between personal choices and equal distribution of participants on all projects. Each group consists of up to 5 students, a project leader and a tutor. During the School, several lectures are held from the leading scientists in the field discussing the latest advances and discoveries. The School ends with a small conference where students present their work through posters and presentations. Given the nature and magnitude of the projects, students are invited to stay in contact with project leaders and to continue to work on projects after the School, potentially leading to scientific publications or qualification works (e.g. MSci).
Participants and Staff Feedback for the School 2015
Participants and staff of the Research Summer School gave high marks to the school’s scientific and organizational components in the post-school evaluation. Students noted that projects were very interestingly designed, where different tasks allowed them to improve R programming techniques, to learn theoretical contents, and provided important knowledge about various bioinformatic tools. Some students mentioned that they will certainly use the knowledge gained in the School in further career. For many students it was very important that all members of staff were easy to approach, knowledgeable and willing to help and that teachers and students have become friends at the end. They were also excited to attend the guest lectures and to see how the methods they studied are applied in large-scale projects.
The intensive study program was complemented with social activities such as a cultural excursion to the historical city of Split, a boat cruise, a table tennis championship and other sport activities, joint cooking, and of course, visits to wonderful Mediterranean beaches. Students said it was a nice balance of work and fun. The majority of students and teachers expressed an interest to join the School the next year and all of them would recommend it to their friends.