Science Education

Formerly known as European Learning Laboratory for the Life Sciences

Our inspiring educational experiences share the scientific discoveries of EMBL with young learners aged 10-19 years and teachers in Europe and beyond. We belong to EMBL’s Science Education and Public Engagement office.

On-site LearningLAB  

Bioinformatics in the classroom, June 2014


Bioinformatics in the classroom – a complementary approach to teaching biology 

Bioinformatika ve třídách – další přístup k výuce biologie

Are you a Czech biology teacher or teaching biology in Czech language? Are you interested in an interactive introduction to the field of bioinformatics and how different types of biological data can be used for modern biology lessons? Then register for our 2-day training course, which will take place on 2 and 3 June 2014 in Charles University Prague, Faculty of Sciences. The course language is Czech and your attendance is free of charge. The registration deadline is 23 May 2014 – early registrations are welcome and are more likely to be successful. Accepted participants will receive an acceptance notification no later than 26 May 2014.

Aims of the course

Techniques such as high-throughput sequencing and other data-rich research methods are contributing to a huge amount of biological data being produced by researchers. In order to make sense of this data, computer-based analysis methods are required and this has generated the field of bioinformatics. The European Molecular Biology Laboratory is Europe’s centre of expertise on how to process, store and analyse life science information and we make this biological data available to researchers around the world through the provision of data resources provided by the EMBL-EBI.

The Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague is one  of the leading research institutes in the field of biology in Czech Republic and bioinformatics is also becoming more important for the research and education efforts at the faculty. In addition the institution is responsible for the training of secondary school teachers.

The number and range of biological data resources can be bewildering but once familiar with the resources and the data they hold, the use of biological databases gives teachers and students the opportunity to use real scientific data and analysis tools to visualise and learn about biological concepts. Use of web-based user interfaces also helps support the development of effective ICT skills.

The ELLS LearningLab in collaboration with the Faculty of Science of the Charles University in Prague will provide an interactive introduction to the field of bioinformatics, a central part of modern biology that can be used effectively in the classroom to teach biological concepts. During the 2-day course, a combination of seminars, discussions and hands-on activities will:

  • Introduce you to the different types of biological information that are stored in public databases, and how to find this information;
  • Update your knowledge on current biological research and get you in touch with research scientists;
  • Illustrate a range of classroom activities and equip you to use the freely available bioinformatics resources to support your teaching of biology;
  • Include a visit to a sequencing facility at the Charles University in Prague;
  • Give you the opportunity to develop your own scientific quiz and make it available to your students using the EMBL LearnApp;
  • Allow you to network and share your experiences with teachers colleagues from Czech Republic.

Topics and sessions include:

  • Different types of biological data and how to access them using the web;
  • An introduction to phylogenetics using biological sequences;
  • Exploring biological data – a treasure hunt on the internet. A step-by-step guide to using different bioinformatics databases and tools to identify the origins of mysterious DNA sequences;
  • The evolution of light-sensitive proteins. Presentation and bioinformatics activity.
  • Exploring protein structures and their relationship to protein functions.


We are pleased to offer bursaries to assist with travel costs.  All applicants must be active in teaching biology to 16-19 year old students.  Candidates of any nationality may apply but must be resident and work in the EU and associated member states.

Bursaries will be awarded on the basis of:

  • explanation of the relevance of this course to your teaching;
  • justification of use of the funds to support your attendance in the LearningLAB;
  • demonstration of involvement with national (and possibly international) teaching networks and a commitment to sharing course materials through these.

How to apply for a bursary?
Once you have registered for the course, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to submit your application for a bursary.

If you are accepted for a bursary, you will receive partial support for your incurred travel costs upon completion of the course.


Date: 2 - 3 June 2014

Application deadline: 23 May 2014

Topic area:  Bioinformatics

Format: Face-to-face

Location: Czech Republic

Contact: ELLS Team

Organiser: ELLS & Charles University Prague