Training Course: Data Integration in the Life Sciences
2 to 6 February 2015


This training course focussed on an important and novel challenge in the life sciences: the integration of diverse types of data in aiming at a better understanding of how biological systems function. For instance, to understand a living organisms it is essential to combine (i) genetic information and knowledge about gene activity with (ii) data sets that describe the presence and function of proteins and metabolites and (iii) spatial information from light and electron microscopy. The course addressed the question how to integrate such disparate and highly dynamic (time-dependent) data in predictive computational models, that give insight into the interrelated processes in cells, tissues and organs.

Aim of the five days course was to provide students with the following knowledge:

overview of different types of data sets and data integration approaches

hands-on training in applying such approaches in selected case studies

insight into how such approaches may affect their individual research project

The course programme contained a limited number of introductory lectures and presentation of examples of ongoing research projects in different European countries. The main component was hands-on work, using data sets provided by the course organisation. The course was attended by 21 young postdocs from eight countries.

The overall evaluation of the course, conducted 2 to 3 weeks after it ended, was 3,6 on a scale of 4. Both the topic and the course itself were timely and highly appreciated.

The course has been organised by the Framework Programme 7 (FP7) ERA-Net programme for Systems Biology Applications (ERASysAPP, and the Dutch national research school on systems biology and bioinformatics BioSB (