Bringing genomics into the class room: Successful Inspiration day on Big Data and precision medicine – University of Copenhagen

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17 April 2018

Bringing genomics into the class room: Successful Inspiration day on Big Data and precision medicine


On April 5 2018, 38 High School science teachers from across the country participated in the BRIC outreach course “ Big data in the clinics: the roadmap to precision medicine”

The central element of the course was a 3 hour hands-on workshop on data mining, during which the participants were taught how to access and explore freely available public clinical big data on the cBioPortal. The workshop was structured as a series of practical exercises based on real biological questions and approaches such as Are the same mutations common to all cancer types? What are the predominant mutations in a specific type of cancer? Can specific mutations be targeted by specific drugs? The exercises were meant to provide the teachers with concrete examples on how to explore genomics with their students in class.

Besides the workshop the course consisted of 2 talks by BRIC group leaders:

“Big data – practical use and the road to the clinic”, by Group leader Joachim Weischenfeldt, and “Identifying personalized cancer treatments with drug testing of cancer patient cells”, by group leader Krister Wennerberg, and finally a combined talk and debate on Big Data ethics by Gorm Greisen, head of the Danish Council on Ethics.

Both participants and everyone involved from BRIC was highly motivated and it was a great day containing a lot of interesting discussions!

This sort of activity is a great way to engage with society. And it is a unique experience. In one hand, we have the challenge to translate what we do in the lab to a general audience. On the other hand, it allows for researches, such as the ones we developed at BRIC, to have a real public impact. The positive outcome of this course was certainly due to its team, comprised of researchers from various scientific backgrounds, each one with a very interesting take on the topic of Big Data. It was definitely exciting to see such a participative and interested audience! Bridging Science and Society was the main ambition of our workshop. And we hope we have achieved a tiny bit of that. Douglas Oliveira, postdoc in Andersen Group, workshop leader

Workshop leaders: Douglas Oliveira, postdoc in Andersen Group, BRIC and Colm O’Rourke, postdoc in Andersen Group, BRIC

Workshop instructors:
Daria Shlyueva, Assistant professor in Helin group
Aidan Flynn, postdoc in Weischenfeldt group
Samuel Demharter, postdoc in Khodosewich group
Tian Xia, Research assistant in Erler group
Martina Hödl-Baumgartner, postdoc in Groth group
Magali Claude Delphine Michaut, postdoc in Porse group
Helene Damhofer, Helin group
Sachin Pundhir, assistant professor in Porse group

Practical coordinator: Anne Rahbek-Damm, communications officer