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Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

6th Edition

Introduction to Network Analysis in Life Sciences

September 24th-28th, 2018, Barcelona (Spain)

Systems Biology

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Introduction to Network Analysis in Life SciencesMany features and processes of biological systems can be well represented by networks of interacting elements. In the last decades, network analysis has provided new insights into the organization and functioning of complex biological systems such as brain wiring, genetic regulation, or ecological dynamics. A basic knowledge on network modelling and network analysis will provide biologists a better understanding of cutting-edge research in their fields.

This course will introduce participants into the analysis of complex biological systems using network models. Students will learn the basics of network analysis: gathering information, building network models, and interpret the outcomes of their analysis. This course combines theoretical introduction and computing practices using the free software environment R.

Previous knowledge in R is not required. Participants are encouraged to bring their own data for practicing. Emphasis is placed on offering participants a wide overview of network modelling in biology and the many available software tools to do it.


Centre de Restauració i Interpretació Paleontològica (CRIP)

C/ Mestre J. Lladós, 1
08781 Els Hostalets de Pierola, Barcelona (Spain)

How to get there


September 24th-28th, 2018




34 hours on-site.

This course is equivalent to 2 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) at the Life Science Zurich Graduate School.

The recognition of ECTS by other institutions depends on each university or school.


Places are limited to 18 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate at the end of it.


Diego Rasskin-Gutman instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Diego Rasskin-Gutman
Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology

Borja Esteve-Altava Instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Borja Esteve-Altava
Pompeu Fabra University


Ana Rosa Gómez-Cano coordinator at Transmitting Science

Dr. Ana Rosa Gómez-Cano
Transmitting Science

Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno instructor at Transmitting Science

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Transmitting Science


Graduate or postgraduate degree in Biomedical, Life or Earth Sciences; and basic knowledge of Statistics.

All participants must bring their own personal laptop.


Monday 24th, 2018. Theoretical Overview, by Dr. Diego Rasskin-Gutman.

  • Introductions and course overview.
  • Conceptual basis of networks analysis.
  • Types of networks.
  • Networks parameters.
  • Networks organization (small-world, scale-free, hierarchical networks).
  • Community detection in networks (modularity).
  • Getting R and RStudio ready to work.

Tuesday 25th, 2018. Hands-on Computers I, by Dr. Borja Esteve-Altava.

  • The igraph package and the igraph object.
  • Create deterministic networks.
  • Create networks from data (students are welcome to bring their own data).
  • Manipulate network elements and attributes.
  • Calculate network parameters.
  • Identify small-world, scale-free, and hierarchical organization in networks.
  • Create null network models.

Wednesday 26th, 2018. Hands-on Computers II, by Dr. Borja Esteve-Altava.

  • Community detection algorithms (detection, validation, and comparison).
  • Overview to secondary extinctions.
  • Overview to bipartite networks and the package bipartite.
  • Students project preparation.

Thursday 27th, 2018. Students Projects, supervised by Dr. Borja Esteve-Altava.

  • Student project preparation (in groups of 2-3 persons).

Friday 28th, 2018. Projects Presentations and Feedback, supervised by Dr. Borja Esteve-Altava.

  • Each team will present its work to the group for discussion and round table (15-20 min + 10 min).
  • Course feedback.


  • Esteve-Altava B, Rasskin-Gutman D (2014) Beyond the functional matrix hypothesis: a network null model of human skull growth for the formation of bone articulations. Journal of Anatomy, 225 (3): 306-316.
  • Esteve-Altava B, Boughner JC, Diogo R, Villmoare BA, Rasskin-Gutman D (2015) Anatomical network analysis shows decoupling of modular lability and complexity in the evolution of the primate skull. PLoS ONE, 10(5): e0127653. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0127653.
  • Esteve-Altava B, Diogo R, Smith C, Boughner JC, Rasskin-Gutman D (2015) Anatomical networks reveal the musculoskeletal modularity of the human head. Scientific Reports, 5: 8298. DOI: 10.1038/srep08298.
  • Esteve-Altava B, Rasskin-Gutman D (2015) EvoDevo insights from pathological networks: Exploring craniosynostosis as a developmental mechanism for modularity and complexity in the human skull. Journal of Anthropological Sciences, 93: 1-15. DOI: 10.4436/JASS.93001.



  • Course Fee
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  • Early bird (until April 30th, 2019):
  • 535 *
  • Regular (after April 30th, 2019):
  • 665 *
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches (VAT included).
    * Participants from companies/industry will have an extra charge of 100 €.

20 % discount will be applied to your fee If you belong to any of the Institutions listed HERE. Discounts (see Funding below) are not cumulative and apply only on the fee.

We offer the possibility of paying in two instalments (contact the course coordinator).


The course will take place in the city of Sabadell, Barcelona (Spain). Take a look at the venue.

You may stay in Barcelona city or Sabadell. You will find information about Hotels and Hostel in Sabadell here. It takes about 45 minutes by public transport to arrive to Sabadell from the centre of Barcelona city. The place of the course is about 15 minutes walking from the train stop.


Course Schedule
  • Monday to Thursday:
    • 9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
    • 13:30 to 15:00 Lunch (included).
    • 15:00 to 18:30 Lessons.
  • Friday:
    • 9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.

The schedule is approximate; it is possible that the content of one day may run into the next and a working day may be longer than advertised.



Former participants will have a 5 % discount on the Course Fee.

Furthermore, a 20 % discount on the Course Fee is offered for members of some organizations (Organizations with discount). If you want to apply to this discount please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later).

Unemployed scientists living in Spain, as well as PhD students based in Spain without any grant or scholarship to develop their PhD, could benefit from a 40 % discount on the Course Fee. If you want to ask for this discount, please contact the course coordinator. That would apply for a maximum of 2 places and they will be covered by strict inscription order.

Discounts are not cumulative and apply only on the fee, not to Accommodation Package or other options.


You will find below some testimonials from former participants to previous editions of this course:

“Thanks to everyone involved in this Transmitting Science course. The location and ambience were lovely, and the instructors very engaging. The course was really well structured with a good mix of theory and practical sessions, and the content and level was perfect, as although I started with little knowledge of both the subject and R it was possible to learn very quickly. I particularly liked the fact that the opportunity existed to work on your own material under supervision which I think will definitely helped me in my PhD.” (1st Edition)

Josie PeggBournemouth University, United Kingdom

Previous editions of this course

4th Edition, September 18th-22nd, 2017

Course Introduction to Network Analysis in Life Sciences - 4th Edition, September 18th-22nd, 2017Four people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • United States of America: University of Wisconsin – Madison.
  • People’s Republic of China: Sun Yat-sen University.
  • Spain: Autonomous University of Madrid.

3rd Edition, October 24th-28th, 2016

Course Introduction to Network Analysis in Life Sciences - 3rd Edition, October 24th-28th, 2016Eight people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • Switzerland: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
  • United Kingdom: University of Edinburgh, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology – Natural Environment Research Council, Queen Mary University of London.
  • Argentina: Universidad Nacional del Sur.
  • Norway: Nord University.
  • Germany: University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.
  • Denmark: Aarhus University.

2nd Edition, April 20th-24th, 2015

Course Introduction to Network Analysis in Life Sciences - 2nd Edition, April 20th-24th, 2015Fifteen people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • United Kingdom: Bournemouth University, Cardiff University.
  • Spain: Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Blanes – CSIC, Universitat de Barcelona.
  • Germany: Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology – Max Planck Society, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology – Max Planck Society, University of Düsseldorf.
  • Brazil: Universidade de São Paulo.
  • United States of America: University of California Santa Cruz.
  • The Netherlands: University of Groningen.
  • Italy: University of Milan – Bicocca.
  • Sweden: Uppsala University.

1st Edition, July 14th-18th, 2014

Course Introduction to Network Analysis in Life Sciences - 1st Edition, July 14th-18th, 2014Eight people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • Spain: Estación Biológica de Doñana – CSIC, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
  • Poland: Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan.
  • United Kingdom: Bournemouth University.
  • Germany: Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research –
  • France: Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique.
  • Switzerland: University of Zurich.


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