Introduction to RNA-Seq and Functional Interpretation


 Tuesday 26 Friday 29 March 2019


European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) - Training Room 1 - Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge,  CB10 1SD, United Kingdom

Application opens: 

Monday 01 October 2018

Application deadline: 

Friday 11 January 2019


Open application with selection


Johanna Langrish

Registration fee: 

£700 - (Including Accommodation)

Registration closed

Find other similar courses »


This course will provide an introduction to the technology, data analysis, tools and resources used in RNA sequencing and transcriptomics. The content is intended to provide a broad overview of the subject area, and to introduce participants to simple data analysis using  the command line and APIs. It will also highlight key resources, approaches and methodologies to begin the biological interpretation and analysis of transcriptomics data. Topics will be delivered using a mixture of lectures, practical sessions and open discussions. Practical work during the course will use small, example data-sets - there will be no opportunity to  analyse personal data.


This course is aimed at life science researchers needing to learn more about the basic processing of raw RNA-Seq data and downstream analysis. It will help those wanting to learn how to interpret gene expression data and explore results of biological significance from processed data.

Participants will require a basic knowledge of the Unix command line, the Ubuntu 18 operating system and the R statistical packages. We recommend these free tutorials:

Regardless of your current knowledge we encourage successful participants to use these, and other materials, to prepare for attending the course and future work in this area.

Syllabus, tools and resources

During this course you will learn about:

  • NGS platforms and NGS data files and formats

  • RNA-Seq bioinformatics workflow steps following sequence generation

  • NGS for transcriptomics; QC, mapping, visualisation tools

  • Data resources to assist in the functional analysis and interpretation of biological data
  • Data resources covered:
    • ArrayExpress and Expression Atlas
    • European Nucleotide Archive
    • Reactome
    • Open Targets


After this course you should be able to:

  • Describe a variety of applications and workflow approaches for NGS technologies

  • Use a range of bioinformatics software and tools to undertake basic analysis of RNA-Seq data
Evaluate the advantages and limitations of NGS analyses
  • Interpret and annotate data with functional information using public resources

Additional information

Accommodation will be provided at the Holiday Inn, Impington Tuesday-Friday inclusive. This location is difficult to access from both the Wellcome Genome Campus or Cambridge and we strongly recommend that successful participants consider finding alternative accommodation close to Cambridge Station prior to or after the course to ease journeys. Please contact the Wellcome Genome Campus Conference Centre directly if you wish to arrange to stay additional nights around the course dates.

The course includes evening meals at the Hinxton Hall Restaurant on campus or the Red Lion Pub in nearby Hinxton village, and breaks and lunches outside the EMBL-EBI training rooms.


Day 1 – Tuesday 26 March 2019
12:00-13:00 Arrival, registration and lunch  
13:00-14:00 Introductions, expectations and EMBL-EBI overview Tom Hancocks
14:00-15:30 Introduction to NGS and RNA-Seq Tom Hancocks
15:30-16:00 Break  
16:00-17:30 RNA-Seq file formats practical Sung Gong
17:30-18:30 Data reproducibility: standards and ontologies Silive Fexova
18:30 End of day  
18:45 Evening meal Hinxton Hall Restaurant
20:15 Shuttle to Holiday Inn, Impington  
Day 2 – Wednesday 27 March 2019
08:00 Shuttle to campus  
08:45 Arrival  
09:00-10:30 Annotating the genome with RNA-Seq data Leanne Haggerty & Kostas Billis
10:30-11:00 Break
11:00-12:30 Introduction to RNA-Sequencing Simon Andrews
12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-16:00 RNA-Sequencing Simon Andrews
16:00-16:30 Break  
16:30-18:00 Open session Tom Hancocks
18:45 Evening meal Hinxton Hall Restaurant
20:15 Shuttle to Holiday Inn, Impington  
Day 3 – Thursday 28 March 2019
08:00 Shuttle to campus  
08:45 Arrival  
09:00-11:00 Exploring gene expression data with Expression Atlas Expression Atlas Team
11:00-11:30 Break
11:30-12:30 Next steps in gene prioritisation Liis Kolberg
12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-14:30 Next steps in gene prioritisation Liis Kolberg
14:30-16:00 Exploring biological pathways Thawfeek Varusai
16:00-16:30 Break  
16:30-18:30 Integrating biological data Open Targets Team
18:45 Evening meal Red Lion Pub, Hinxton
20:15 Shuttle to Holiday Inn, Impington  
Day 4 – Friday 29 March 2019
07:45 Checkout of Holiday Inn  
08:00 Shuttle to campus  
08:45 Arrival  
09:00-10:00 RNA data resources Blake Sweeney & Anton Petrov
10:00-11:00 Nucleotide sequence repository Sam Holt
11:00-11:30 Break  
11:30-12:30 Single-cell RNA sequencing Vladimir Kisilev
12:30-12:45 Feedback and course wrap-up Tom Hancocks
12:45-13:30 Lunch  
13:30 Shuttle to Cambridge Station