Boot Camp in Quantitative Methods

August 2017

Course Materials

Note to instructors

How to use the problem set packages

Each day we will provide you with a downloadable zip file that will contain the files you will need for the day. Each folder in the package addresses a different type of problem and contains a set of questions, the data that you need to solve those questions as well as a proposed solution for each of them. We recommend you to read the problem set first and try to figure out how to answer the questions using the tools we will teach you in class.

Throughout the boot camp we will often present you with real biological problems and will challenge you to think about the essence of the problem and how to break it down into a smaller set of computational experiments that you can perform with your newly acquired programming skills.

It can be very challenging, especially when just beginning to code, to tackle all levels of a problem, understand what way to analyze the data, determine what code is needed, and then implement the code. Because of this every problem has an "Abridged" version that breaks down the biologically part. Use this part if you can't figure out what the question is asking and want to move onto trying to implement the code.

Finally, after having come up with your own solutions to the problem you could compare your approach to the proposed solutions in the package.

Before the course


Day 1

Day 1 Packet (zip)
Contains the MATLAB Intro and Yeast Showdown 1: Competition between strains by microscopy.
Day 1 Homework (zip)
Contains Flow Cytometry Exercise and Day 1 Homework problems.

Day 1

Half day for review/practise

Day 2

Yeast Showdown 2: Growth Curves (zip)
Contains the Yeast Showdown 2 exercise.
Day 2 Homework
Contains 3 files include the homework.

Day 2

Half day for review/practise
Solution to Boston Rain exercise

Day 4

Random Number Data
Yeast YFP data
Contains data from the flow cytometry exercise on day one (yellow fluorescence in blue cells and red cells). If you have your own dataset from that exercise, feel free to use that.

Statistics Day (Mon. 14 August 2017)

Statistics Exercises (zip)
Contains Rattus Binomialis and Neuron showdown. Solution code to both exercises will be provided after class on Monday.
The statistics homework will be on LearningCatalytics: Four-choice Probability and Galton Board
Solution code to today's exercises. (zip file)
Solution code to the homework exercises. (zip file)

Day 5

prostate cancer data
Intro example for class.
Image Analysis for Biology (pdf)
An introduction to image analysis with MATLAB.
Image files for "Image Analysis for Biology" (116 MB)
Contains images needed for the exercises in the above image analysis packet.
Timelapse Microscopy Exercise (500MB zip)
Contains the Timelapse Microscopy exercise.
Homework Yeast Showdown 1.5: Cell segmentation (zip)
Contains the Yeast Showdown 1.5 exercise, an extension to Yeast Showdown I that uses more advanced image analysis techniques.

Day 5

Half day for review/practise

Day 6


False positives and "researcher degrees of freedom"
Bioinformatics: Data import (zip)
An introduction to importing data into MATLAB (used to be Bonus Bioinformatics).
Materials for Machine Learning.

Neuroscience exercises for Fri. 19 Aug. 2016

Bootstrap Bill (zip)
Direction tuning data from an MT neuron: polar plots and circular statistics; permutation test and bootstrapping for confidence intervals.
Calcium Imaging Exercise (zip)
GCaMP5 data from neurons in the optic tectum of larval zebrafish: PCA/SVD to de-noise data; local pixel correlations to identify active neurons.
Finding Lincoln (zip)
Image processing from a psychophysical perspective: image filtering; edge detection; image analysis in the frequency domain (FFT2).
Natural Images and your Brain (zip)
Image processing from a neural perspective: statistics of natural images (spatial correlations and redundancy); retinal filtering; edge detection as “suspicious coincidence."
Spike Sorting (zip)
Time series data from an extracellular electrode: PCA/SVD to group different waveforms (i.e. sort spikes); 3D plotting; interspike interval (ISI) histograms.
Spike-triggered Average (zip)
Discovering the image features that make a neuron fire: event-triggered averages to find receptive fields; random permutation statistics to find the signifcant parts of images or results.

Day 6 - Afternoon bioinformatics group

Filezilla from our local server
To upload and download files from the cluster
Bioinformatics Exercise 2015
All the data for the exercise


Day 6 - Backup Download Bioinformatics group

Filezilla from our local server
More things to get from the cluster

Afternoon - Pathway modeling group

Simbiology Intro (pdf)

Bonus Exercises

Neuroscience tutorials(zip)
Contains .m files with tutorials on Choice and probability, Fourier Analysis, and Poisson processes.

Old Non-science problems

Ground Hog Day: Is the ground hog getting it right?
Data on historical predictions and the weather for Grand Rapids, Michigan (together with a possible pathway for analysis) can be found in this paper
Exercise and academic performance
Raw data seems to be hard to come by, but check out this meta-study. Then again, check out this critical comment which raises questions about sample selection.
Movie box office numbers and other information
Box office mojo
International Movie Database
Baseball data
Baseball databank
Stock market data
Yahoo finance

Note to instructors

This site contains .zip files that bundle the course materials for our students at the current (or most recent) offering of the Quantitative Methods Boot Camp. The latest version of our course materials can also be accessed on our GitHub repository.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.