Sunday, March 10 | 2:00pm – 5:00pm


In biology and other data-driven research areas, data visualization has become an integral part of the analysis toolkit. Data visualization approaches serve as the primary interface between analysts and the data. While great data visualization approaches can accelerate new discoveries, poor data visualization approaches can mislead and slow down progress. Participants of this introductory workshop will acquire the skills necessary to identify appropriate visualization methods for a given problem and learn about the state-of-the-art in biological data visualization.

The content of the course will be structured around the following questions:

  • What are the principles of perception and cognition relevant for data visualization?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of common visualization techniques for genomes, multivariate data, and networks?
  • How can visualization and algorithmic approaches be integrated to complement each other?
  • What are techniques for evaluation of visualization tools?


2:00 Course introduction and discussion

3:15 Coffee Break

3:45 Course discussion and Q&A

5:00 Close of course


Gehlenborg_NilsNils Gehlenborg, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Gehlenborg directs a research lab ( at Harvard Medical School that focuses on data visualization techniques for biomedical data. His group designs and implements techniques for visualization of genomic and epigenomic data for both basic and clinical research. Dr. Gehlenborg leads the data visualization team for the NIH Common Fund 4D Nucleome Data Coordination and Integration Center and he is also involved in several projects aimed at creating novel visualization techniques for large-scale cancer genomics data. Furthermore, Dr. Gehlenborg is actively pursuing the development of key software infrastructure to accelerate the creation and distribution of biomedical visualization tools ( and the integration of such tools with data management and analysis pipelines ( Dr. Gehlenborg is a co-founder and former co-chair of BioVis ( and VIZBI (, which are long-running data visualization meetings focused on biological data. He is currently serving as the chair of the BioVis Steering Committee. Dr. Gehlenborg is also an Associate Editor of BMC Bioinformatics and a contributor to the Nature Methods "Points of View" data visualization column. His work was honored with Best Paper and Best Poster awards at the IEEE Information Visualization conference. Dr. Gehlenborg is a co-founder of datavisyn (, a company that develops data visualization solutions for applications in pharmaceutical and biomedical R&D. Dr. Gehlenborg received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and was a predoctoral fellow at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). He completed postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute.

Back To Short Courses