R programming foundations for Life Science


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Important dates

Application open: September 20th

Application deadline: October 31st

Confirmation to accepted students: From October 7th

Responsible teachers: Marcin Kierczak, Sebastian DiLorenzo

If you don’t receive information according to the dates above, contact education@scilifelab.uu.se


Course fee

A course fee of 2000 SEK will be invoiced to accepted participants (includes the study material, coffee, lunches and course dinner). NOTE – Uppsala University cannot invoice individuals.

Course content

Course website

The course is addressed to life scientists with little or moderate experience in programming but who are enthusiastic about learning how to use R to make their work smoother and easier.

The course covers fundamental concepts of programming and software design focusing on programming in R. We will go through various aspects of R scripting emphasizing the parts useful for life scientists. After introductory lectures on good programming practices, basic software design theory and a brief overview of R, we will delve into programming. We start by learning how to use R as a simple calculator, what are variable types, how to use data structures, how to implement repeating actions with and without loops, how to take actions based on certain condition. We gradually proceed to loading data, importing data from common file formats, some basic matrix algebra and learning how to perform basic statistical tests and visualize results.

We will give you tools to access help and information on R-related challenges and issues, spend some time learning how to install external packages, how to find bugs and address common installation issues.

We also mention some more advanced topics and tell you more about BioConductor, which is an invaluable tool for a computational biologist. You will learn how to document your work and how to generate automatic reports. We try to illustrate all these concepts with some real-life examples and interesting lab tasks.

The course will be given by experienced computational biologists from SciLifeLab and Uppsala University. Dr. Marcin Kierczak responsible for the content of the course is an experienced R user/coder, who has previously developed R packages and has experience in teaching programming and R to different audiences.

Course literature

We recommend the following books for the course:

  1. Matloff, “The Art of R Programming”
  2. Book
  3. Free PDF
  4. R.I. Kabacoff, “R in Action”
  5. Book/Ebook and preview  38% discount code: ria38


Entry requirements

Good general computer literacy is expected, but no previous experience in programming or R is required. You are expected to know basic concepts in mathematics and statistics, but the emphasis of the course is to learn how to use R.

Participants are expected to use their own computers with pre-installed R and R Studio (detailed instructions will be given upon acceptance).

Due to space constraints for the computer exercises, there are a maximum number of allowed participants. If we receive more applications, participants will be selected based on several criteria. Selection criteria include correct entry requirements, motivation to attend the course as well as gender and geographical balance.