Beyond Bioinformatics

As part of the “Beyond Bioinformatics” program at SAMSI during 2014-2015, two special courses will be offered.

Math 810A: Statistical and Mathematical Challenges in Molecular Evolution. It is tentatively planned for Tuesday afternoons (4:30-7PM).   Although some of the content will be at a high quantitative level, students with and without strong quantitative backgrounds are encouraged to enroll in this interdisciplinary offering.

This course aims to provide students with an overview of the statistical, mathematical, and computational aspects of studying molecular evolution.  Dr. Ziheng Yang (R.A. Fisher Professor of Statistical Genetics at University College London) will lead the course.     Much of the content in the course will be closely aligned with the Computational Molecular Evolution (Oxford series in Ecology and Evolution) book written by Dr. Yang.   Coverage of other current research topics in this area will also be provided.     Additional instructors in this course will include Dr. Jotun Hein (Bioinformatics Professor of the Statistics Department, University of Oxford), Dr. Scott Schmidler (Statistical Science and Computer Science, Duke University), Dr. Seth Sullivant (Department of Mathematics, N.C. State University), and Dr. Jeffrey Thorne (Departments of Biological Science and Statistics, N.C. State University).

This course will be aimed at an interdisciplinary audience.  The first portion of the course will be introductory in nature and will emphasize the key issues that make molecular evolution such a stimulating area of study.  The remainder of the course will consist of short modules that are devoted to cutting-edge topics that are at the forefront of the molecular evolution field.   Subjects that will be addressed in the course include: (1) Phylogenetics; (2) Divergence time estimation; (3) Detection of positive selection; (4) The relationship between protein structure and protein evolution; and (5) Connections between intraspecific and interspecific genetic variation.

Also, there will be a “Projects in Computational Biology” Independent Study course taught by Dr. Jotun Hein (Bioinformatics Professor of the Statistics Department at Oxford University) . This course will tentatively meet on Thursday afternoons (4:30-7PM).  Please see this attachment for details.   This course should be of interest to Bioinformatics and Statistics and Biomath and Math graduate students.