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Teaching Bioinformatics and Neuroinformatics Using Free Web-based Tools

  • Author(s): Grisham, William
  • et al.
Abstract

This completely computer-based module’s purpose is to introduce students to bioinformatics resources. We present an easy-to-adopt module that weaves together

several important bioinformatic tools so students can grasp how these tools are used in answering research questions. This module integrates information gathered from websites dealing with anatomy (Mouse Brain Library), Quantitative Trait Locus analysis

(WebQTL from GeneNetwork), bioinformatics and gene expression analyses (University of California, Santa Cruz Genome Browser, NCBI Entrez Gene, and the Allen Brain Atlas), and information resources (PubMed).

This module provides for teaching genetics from the phenotypic level to the molecular level, some neuroanatomy, some aspects of histology, statistics, Quantitaive Trait Locus analysis, molecular biology including in situ hybridization and microarray analysis in addition to introducing bioinformatic resources. Students use these resources to discover 1) the region(s) of chromosome(s) influencing the trait, 2) a list of candidate genes—narrowed by expression data, 3) the in situ pattern of a given gene in the region of

interest, 4) the nucleotide sequence of the candidate gene, and 5) articles describing the gene. Teaching materials such as a detailed instructor’s manual, powerpoints, sample exams, and links to free web resources can be found at http://mdcune.psych.ucla.edu/modules/bioinformatics.

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