Nov 14th 2016

Code of Life - When Computer Science Meets Genetics (openHPI)

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Welcome to the class: we are very excited that you are interested in learning more about the foundations of life. In this openHPI course, we will give an introduction about components of human cells and their functions. We dive into the cell core to explore the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), its structure, and how it stores the code of life.

Furthermore, we will explore how to discover genetic variants and mutations and how to assess their impact on the cell functions and the whole human body. Ultimately, we will outline how individual genetic variants can be connected to complex diseases, such as cancer. Just two decades ago, all these tasks would have been impossible due to missing knowledge about the DNA and a lack of computational power. As a result, you will learn basic concepts about how to incorporate latest computer science aspects to explore the code of life interactively.

Course contents

Week 1: History of DNA and core components of cells:

Back to school: let's test your current biology background. We will start with a concrete real-world use case from medicine to explain core components of human cells, their function, and how they interact.
Week 2: Processing and analyzing of genetic data:

How to turn genetic raw data into meaningful information is the content of this week. Specific data processing steps are required prior to interpreting genetic data. In this week we will address specific algorithms, IT methods, and processes to assess genetic data. Furthermore, you will gain hands-on experience in analyzing selected genetic variants and evaluating their relevance.
Week 3: Online Q&A and final exams :

In this week you will have the chance to discuss any open questions with the teaching team using our online tools. Furthermore, you will have to complete your final exams of the course in this week. We also encourage you to join our "I like, I wish" discussion providing your feedback of the course.

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