NCMM hosts a new PhD Course on multi-omic data analysis and integration for precision medicine

Over five days in December, NCMM hosted a PhD course introducing new approaches to multi-omic data analyses.

Vandana Ravindran discussing with one of the course organisers Marieke Kuijjer. Photo: Larissa Lily
Saikat Das Sajib found the practical parts of the course highly relevant for his own Phd project.

The course presented an overview of computational methods to analyse multi-omic datasets in healthy and disease settings, specialising in analysing and integrating datasets dedicated to studying transcriptional gene regulationand somatic genomes. International speakers presented state-of-the-art computational approaches to analyse multi-omic datasets e.g. whole genome sequencing, ChIP-sequencing, and mRNA sequencing.

Besides the lectures and scientific papers, the course included practical workshops to familiarise students with good practices and hands-on experience in processing, quality control, visualising, summarising, integrating, and analysing large-scale multi-omics data sets.

The course was organised by NCMM group leaders Marieke Kuijjer, Anthony Mathelier and Sebastian Waszak, who very much enjoyed designing and teaching this new PhD course. They were happy to see both PhD students and postdoctoral fellows attending. 

–  With excellent talks by our international speakers, the course offered the students insights into the state-of-the-art of multi-omics integration and analysis approaches in disease. In addition, we hope our complementary experience with multi-omics integration gave the students different perspectives on the power of multi-omics analysis, while also capturing common themes. This included, for example, the importance of quality control and independent validation of findings, as was pointed out by one of the students at the end of the course, Marieke Kuijjer commented.

– We hope we can turn this into an annual PhD course! She added.

The course attracted ten early-career researchers from UiO, other Norwegian universities and hospitals, and Finland, thanks to funding from NordForsk.

Vandana Ravindran, is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Biostatistics, UiO. What she found most valuable about the course was its blend of theoretical and practical knowledge.

The course covered omics data integration with hands-on sessions very well, and I found this useful for my research. It was also a great opportunity to meet other researchers from different backgrounds and work together on a paper presentation, which is a good way to make new friends, she said.

Saikat Das Sajib is doing his PhD at the Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT – The Arctic University of Norway. His project focuses on analyzing the interaction between cancer cells and tumor microenvironment, with a focus on trying to develop a novel diagnostic method for metastatic breast cancer cells by using single cell protein and transcriptome sequencing. He found the course highly relevant for his PhD project:

–  All the lectures, and specially the practical part where we could learn about new tools using cancer data under close supervision was very useful and effective. I will definitely recommend this course to other PhD students from the same field, he said.