CS167 Fall 2018

COMP 167
Computational Biology
Tufts University
FALL 2018


Professor Lenore J. Cowen
Office: Halligan Hall 107A
Email: lenore.cowen@gmail.com or cowen@cs.tufts.edu
Office Hours: Thursdays 2-3pm and by appointment

Teaching Assistant:

Teaching Assistant: Mike Pietras (until Nov 15) / Sara Amr (after Nov 15)

Office: Halligan 107

Office hours: Until Nov 15: Tuesdays 5-6:30pm, Wednesdays 1-3:30pm
After Nov 15: Email the professor and make an appointment for office hours

Email: cpietras AT cs.tufts.edu

Note: email Mike at least 3 hours in advance if you plan to come to his office hour-- if no one emails, he will not be there

Note 2: no Mike office hours Wed 9/26

About the class

This class serves a dual purpose: it is for students who are interested in taking a computational approach to molecular biology, in order to understand genomic data, and to study disease. It is also for computer science students who wish to do some very applied machine learning on interesting datasets; no biology background is assumed-- we will teach what you need. What we don't teach is how to program: so if you are coming from the more biological end of things, be warned you will need to be able to answer mathematical/algorithmic questions, and you will need to be able to write programs (in the language of your choice).


Comp15 or the equivalent, i.e. Comfort and familiarity with some programming language. No prior biological background is assumed. Knowledge of algorithms (Comp160) is helpful but not required.

Required Text Books:

There is one required textbook for the class:

  • Marketa Zvelebil and Jeremy O. Baum Understanding Bioinformatics Garland Science (Taylor and Francis Group), 2008.

    Grading: grading is based on class attendance/participation, 5 hw assignments, a short (5 page) ethics paper, a couple of short in-class mini-assignment exercises, and a group final project.

    Accomodation for Students with Disabilities: Tufts University values the diversity of our students, staff, and faculty, recognizing the important contribution each student makes to our unique community. Tufts is committed to providing equal access and support to all qualified students through the provision of reasonable accommodations so that each student may fully participate in the Tufts experience. If you have a disability that requires reasonable accommodations, please contact the Student Accessibility Services office at Accessibility@tufts.edu or 617-627-4539 to make an appointment with an SAS representative to determine appropriate accommodations. Please be aware that accommodations cannot be enacted retroactively, making timeliness a critical aspect for their provision.

    Lecture Schedule (tentative) :