SC14: Hands-On with Biomedical Data Visualization Tools and Programming Libraries



This hands-on experience course will build on the introductory course, but review several practical techniques to visualize data. Please bring your fully charged computer to the course as you can work alongside the instructors.


  • Exploratory Data Analysis with Python using Matplotlib and Altair.
  • Building Interactive Visualizations on the Web with JavaScript, Vega Light, and D3.
  • A review of graphical user interface tools for data visualization, including Tableau and Cytoscape.


5:30 pm Course Introduction and Presentations Begin

6:15 Dinner Buffet

8:30 Course Ends


This will be a more advanced course; we recommend you take SC4: Introduction to Data Visualization for Biomedical Applications for an introduction.


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

Nils Gehlenborg received his PhD from the University of Cambridge and was a predoctoral fellow at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). The goal of Gehlenborg’s research is to improve human health by developing computational techniques and interfaces that enable scientists and clinicians to efficiently interact with biomedical data. Tight integration of algorithmic approaches from biomedical informatics with advanced data visualization techniques is central to his efforts, as is close collaboration with clinicians and experimentalists. Currently, Gehlenborg is researching and developing novel tools to visualize heterogeneous data from large-scale cancer genomics studies such as The Cancer Genome Atlas, integrating visual and computational approaches to support sense-making in biology, and using software to support reproducible collaborative research in epigenomics and genomics. Gehlenborg is a co-founder and former general chair of BioVis, the Symposium on Biological Data Visualization, and co-founder of VIZBI, the annual workshop on Visualizing Biological Data. Occasionally, he contributes to the “Points of View” data visualization column in Nature Methods. Gehlenborg currently serves as the Director of the Master of Biomedical Informatics (MBI) program at Harvard Medical School.

Lex_AlexanderAlexander Lex, PhD, Assistant Professor, SCI Institute, School of Computing, University of Utah

I am an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute and the School of Computing at the University of Utah. Together with Miriah Meyer, I run the Visualization Design Lab where we develop visualization methods and systems to help solve today’s scientific problems. Before joining the University of Utah, I was a lecturer and post-doctoral visualization researcher at Harvard University. I received my PhD, master’s, and undergraduate degrees from Graz University of Technology. In 2011 I was a visiting researcher at Harvard Medical School. I am the recipient of an NSF CAREER award and multiple best paper awards or honorable mentions at IEEE VIS, ACM CHI, and other conferences. I also received a best dissertation award from my alma mater. I co-founded Datavisyn, a startup company developing visual analytics solutions for the pharmaceutical industry, and the Caleydo project, an open source visualization framework for biomolecular data.

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