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Training resources

Analysis of single cell RNA-seq data

In recent years single cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) has become widely used for transcriptome analysis in many areas of biology. In contrast to bulk RNA-seq, scRNA-seq provides quantitative measurements of the expression of every gene in a single cell. However, to analyze scRNA-seq data, novel methods are required and some of the underlying assumptions for the methods developed for bulk RNA-seq experiments are no longer valid. In this course we will cover all steps of the scRNA-seq processing, starting from the raw reads coming off the sequencer. The course includes common analysis strategies, using state-of-the-art methods and we also discuss the central biological questions that can be addressed using scRNA-seq.

Find further details of the course here.

Learn coding with the Khan Academy

  • Learn new concepts using a talk-through, which is like a video but more interactive.
  • Do step-by-step challenges to practice newly learned concepts.
  • Work on a project where you can get more practice and be more creative with the skills you've learned.

Visit the website here for more information.

Orchestrating Single-Cell Analysis with Bioconductor

This is the website for “Orchestrating Single-Cell Analysis with Bioconductor”, a book that teaches users some common workflows for the analysis of single-cell RNA-seq data (scRNA-seq). This book will teach you how to make use of cutting-edge Bioconductor tools to process, analyze, visualize, and explore scRNA-seq data.

Visit website here.

Data Science for High-Throughput Sequencing

Extraordinary advances in sequencing technology in the past decade have revolutionized biology and medicine. Many high-throughput sequencing based assays have been designed to make various biological measurements of interest. This course explores the various computational and statistical problems that arises from processing high throughput sequencing data. Specific problems we will study include genome assembly, haplotype phasing, RNA-Seq quantification, single cell RNA-seq analysis, etc. Specific techniques we will learn to solve these problems include spectral algorithms, dynamic programming, the EM algorithm, PCA, FDR, etc. Through this course, the student will also get familiar with various software tools developed for the analysis of real sequencing data.

Visit the website here for further information.

Enrichr: visualisation summaries of collective functions of gene lists

Enrichr is an easy to use intuitive enrichment analysis web-based tool providing various types of visualization summaries of collective functions of gene lists. Enrichr is open source and freely available online.

Visit the website here

TERRA_Tutorial/01-HelloWorld by Nathan Skene

TERRA is used to run workflows (and notebooks) on Google Cloud. It uses WDL as it's workflow script (instead of e.g. NextFlow).  Workflow's cannot be edited directly on TERRA. They have to be created locally (or on HPC) then pushed to github, imported into dockstore and then into TERRA. There's probably other ways of doing it but this guide explains how to do it this way.

Find the guide here.

Recent highlighted papers

Molecular characterisation of selectively vulnerable neurons in Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by the selective vulnerability of specific neuronal populations, the molecular signatures of which are largely unknown. To identify and characterize selectively vulnerable neuronal populations, we used single-nucleus RNA sequencing to profile the caudal entorhinal cortex and the superior frontal gyrus – brain regions where neurofibrillary inclusions and neuronal loss occur early and late in AD, respectively – from individuals spanning the neuropathological progression of AD. We identified RORB as a marker of selectively vulnerable excitatory neurons in the entorhinal cortex, and subsequently validated their depletion and selective susceptibility to neurofibrillary inclusions during disease progression using quantitative neuropathological methods. We also discovered an astrocyte subpopulation, likely representing reactive astrocytes, characterized by decreased expression of genes involved in homeostatic functions. Our characterization of selectively vulnerable neurons in AD paves the way for future mechanistic studies of selective vulnerability and potential therapeutic strategies for enhancing neuronal resilience.

Read full paper here

A taxonomy of transcriptomic cell types across the isocortex and hippocampal formation

The isocortex and hippocampal formation are two major structures in the mammalian brain that play critical roles in perception, cognition, emotion and learning. Both structures contain multiple regions, for many of which the cellular composition is still poorly understood. In this study, we used two complementary single-cell RNA-sequencing approaches, SMART-Seq and 10x, to profile ∼1.2 million cells covering all regions in the adult mouse isocortex and hippocampal formation, and derived a cell type taxonomy comprising 379 transcriptomic types. The completeness of coverage enabled us to define gene expression variations across the entire spatial landscape without significant gaps. We found that cell types are organized in a hierarchical manner and exhibit varying degrees of discrete or continuous relatedness with each other. Such molecular relationships correlate strongly with the spatial distribution patterns of the cell types, which can be region-specific, or shared across multiple regions, or part of one or more gradients along with other cell types. Glutamatergic neuron types have much greater diversity than GABAergic neuron types, both molecularly and spatially, and they define regional identities as well as inter-region relationships. For example, we found that glutamatergic cell types between the isocortex and hippocampal formation are highly distinct from each other yet possess shared molecular signatures and corresponding layer specificities, indicating their homologous relationships. Overall, our study establishes a molecular architecture of the mammalian isocortex and hippocampal formation for the first time, and begins to shed light on its underlying relationship with the development, evolution, connectivity and function of these two brain structures.

Read the full paper here.

Single-Cell Multi-omic Integration Compares and Contrasts Features of Brain Cell Identity

Defining cell types requires integrating diverse single-cell measurements from multiple experiments and biological contexts. To flexibly model single-cell datasets, we developed LIGER, an algorithm that delineates shared and dataset-specific features of cell identity. We applied it to four diverse and challenging analyses of human and mouse brain cells. First, we defined region-specific and sexually dimorphic gene expression in the mouse bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. Second, we analyzed expression in the human substantia nigra, comparing cell states in specific donors and relating cell types to those in the mouse. Third, we integrated in situ and single-cell expression data to spatially locate fine subtypes of cells present in the mouse frontal cortex. Finally, we jointly defined mouse cortical cell types using single-cell RNA-seq and DNA methylation profiles, revealing putative mechanisms of cell-type-specific epigenomic regulation. Integrative analyses using LIGER promise to accelerate investigations of cell-type definition, gene regulation, and disease states.

Read the full paper here.

Profiling microglia from AD donors and non-demented elderly in acute human post-mortem cortical tissue

Microglia are the tissue-resident macrophages of the central nervous system (CNS). Recent studies based on bulk and single-cell RNA sequencing in mice indicate high relevance of microglia with respect to risk genes and neuro-inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease. Here, we investigated microglia transcriptomes at bulk and single cell level in non-demented elderly and AD donors using acute human post-mortem cortical brain samples. We identified 9 human microglial subpopulations with heterogeneity in gene expression. Notably, gene expression profiles and subcluster composition of microglia did not differ between AD donors and non-demented elderly in bulk RNA sequencing nor in single-cell sequencing.

Read the full paper here.