Northeastern University requests funds for a Summer School, entitled Big Data and Statistics for Bench
The target audience for the School are graduate and post-graduate life scientists, who work primarily in wet
lab, and who generate large datasets. Unlike other educational efforts that emphasize genomic applications,
this School targets scientists working with other experimental technologies. Mass spectrometry-based
proteomics and metabolomics are our main focus, however the School is also appropriate for scientists
working with other assays, e.g. nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), protein arrays, etc. This
large community has been traditionally under-served by educational efforts in computation and statistics. This
proposal aims to fill this void.
The Summer School is motivated by the feedback from smaller short courses previously co-organized or co-
instructed by the PI, and will cover theoretical and practical aspects of design and analysis of large-scale
experimental datasets. The Summer School will have a modular format, with 8 20-hour modules scheduled in 2
parallel tracks during 2 consecutive weeks. Each module can be taken independently. The planned modules
are (1) Processing raw mass spectrometric data from proteomic experiments using Skyline, (2) Begnner's R,
(3) Processing raw mass spectrometric data from metabolomic experiments using OpenMS, (4) Intermediate
R, (5) Beginner's guide to statistical experimental design and group comparison, (6) Specialized statistical
methods for detecting differentially abundant proteins and metabolites, (7) Statistical methods for discovery of
biomarkers of disease, and (8) Introduction to systems biology and data integration.
Each module will introduce the necessary statistical and computational methodology, and contain extensive
practical hands-on sessions. Each module will be organized by instructors with extensive interdisciplinary
teaching experience, and supported by several teaching assistants.
We anticipate the participation of 104 scientists, each taking on average 2 modules. Funding is requested for
three yearly offerings of the School, and includes funds to provide US participants with 62 travel fellowships
per year, and 156 registration fee wavers per module. All the course materials, including videos of the lectures
and of the practical sessions, will be publicly available free of charge.