Emerging Approaches for Tumor Analyses in Epidemiological Studies Course (Overview)


This course is provided by NCI-ITEB, and taught by the DCEG/CGR bioinformaticians, many of whom are involved in the Sherlock-Lung study in lung cancer in never smokers.

Course Description

This course aims to provide basic information on the types of analyses that can be conducted using tumor specimens to study the etiology and progression of cancer within epidemiological studies. No previous experience on genomics analyses is required to attend this course; however, some basic knowledge on programming (e.g., R or Linux/Shell) and Next Generation Sequencing would be useful. 

The course includes 12 sessions divided into 4 modules, taking place from November 2022 to May 2023.  Participants are encouraged to attend all sessions but may choose specific sessions based on topics of interest. Participants who attend the entire course will receive a certificate of completion (which can be included in their CVs).  Moreover, the skill sets acquired through the course could enable participants to test their own hypotheses and approaches using Sherlock-Lung data or other genomics data. The results of these analyses may serve as “preliminary data” to apply for NCI/DCEG awards. There will also be “Ask a Bioinformatician” sessions where course participants can join an open-door virtual meeting room to ask questions related to the sessions. These sessions will be held once at the end of each module and will cover the topics presented in the weeks before.

All sessions will consist of two 1-hour segments separated by a 15-minute break. The first “lecture” hour will include theoretical explanations of the topic, a 10-minute question and answer period. The second “practical” hour  is aimed at investigators or fellows that want to learn how to conduct these types of analyses or interpret results.  The practical hour will include hands-on practice for participants to conduct analyses with instructors’ help.  Sessions will be led by two or three investigators, and occasionally with teachers invited from NIH or other institutions.

There will also be DCEG-wide seminars from senior leaders in the field who will cover specific session topics. Details for these seminars will be announced in the future.

There will be a link on the ITEB website to a GitHub page for the course. Learning objectives and materials (including codes, data, questions, instructions, and software checklist) will be uploaded on this page prior to each session. Course slides and links to recordings of the DCEG-wide seminars on related topics will also be posted on this page for future use. After each session and at the end of the course, participants will be invited to complete a brief evaluation form online to provide feedback to the course organizers and teachers. 

We expect that changes to the course plan will be made along the way, based on feedback from participants.