W3. Introduction to Data Visualization for Biomedical Applications

TUESDAY, october 6 | 8:30 - 11:30 AM


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 course 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. This is an introductory course to the principles of data visualization.


  • 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?


8:30 am Workshop Begins

10:00 Coffee Break

11:30 Workshop Ends


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.


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