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Instructor-led course

Provided by: Bioinformatics

This course has 1 scheduled run. To book a place, please choose your preferred date:

Thu 10 Jun 2021

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Events available

An Introduction to Solving Biological Problems with Python (ONLINE LIVE TRAINING)


PLEASE NOTE The Bioinformatics Team are presently teaching as many courses live online, with tutors available to help you work through the course material on a personal copy of the course environment. We aim to simulate the classroom experience as closely as possible, with opportunities for one-to-one discussion with tutors and a focus on interactivity throughout.

This course provides a practical introduction to the writing of Python programs for the complete novice. Participants are lead through the core concepts of Python including Python syntax, data structures and reading/writing files. These are illustrated by a series of example programs. Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to write simple Python programs.

Please note that if you are not eligible for a University of Cambridge Raven account you will need to book or register your interest by linking here.

Target audience
  • Graduate students, Postdocs and Staff members from the University of Cambridge, Affiliated Institutions and other external Institutions or individuals
  • Please be aware that these courses are only free for registered University of Cambridge students. All other participants will be charged a registration fee in some form. Registration fees and further details regarding the charging policy are available here.
  • Further details regarding eligibility criteria are available here
  • The course is aimed for beginners and assumes no prior programming experience.
Topics covered

Python, Data handling


After this course you should be able to:

  • Edit and run Python code
  • Write file-processing python programs that produce output to the terminal and/or external files
  • Create stand-alone python programs to process biological data
  • Know how to develop your skills in Python after the course

During this course you will learn how to:

  • Create and use variables
  • List the most common data types in Python
  • Use different data structures in Python
  • Use conditions to execute specific code block
  • Employ loops to repeat code block
  • Manipulate strings
  • Read a file and write to a file in Python

Presentations, demonstrations and practicals


This is subject to change in line with the online training schedule.

Day 1 Topics
9:30 - 10:00 Introduction
10:00 - 10:30 Print and Variables
10:30 - 12:15 Simple data types, Arithmetic and Saving code in files
12:15 - 13:30 Lunch (not provided)
13:30 - 14:30  Collections: Lists and String
14:30 - 15:45 Collections: Sets and Dictionaries
15:45 - 17:00 Wrap Up
Day 2
9:30 - 9:45 Introduction
9:45 - 10:45  Conditional execution
10:45 - 12:30  Loops 
12:30 -13:30  Lunch (not provided)
13:30 - 15:00  Files
15:00 - 16:15  Delimited Files 
16:15 - 17:00  Wrap Up 
Registration Fees
  • Free for registered University of Cambridge students
  • £ 50/day for all University of Cambridge staff, including postdocs, temporary visitors (students and researchers) and participants from Affiliated Institutions. Please note that these charges are recovered by us at the Institutional level
  • It remains the participant's responsibility to acquire prior approval from the relevant group leader, line manager or budget holder to attend the course. It is requested that people booking only do so with the agreement of the relevant party as costs will be charged back to your Lab Head or Group Supervisor.
  • £ 50/day for all other academic participants from external Institutions and charitable organizations. These charges must be paid at registration
  • £ 100/day for all Industry participants. These charges must be paid at registration
  • Further details regarding the charging policy are available here



A number of times per year

Core skills

Events available