2024 Study Materials

In general, the resources listed here for the computational test will be somewhat helpful, but never as helpful as the materials covered in miRcore MVP meetings. We list most of the MVP meeting dates that cover each topic in hopes that you can refer to your notes/slides from those lectures.

Conceptual Test (40 minutes, multiple choice)

Neurodegenerative Diseases: (link to slides)

Conceptual Slides Review for Genes and Health Contest

Brain Anatomy and Function



Cell Death


Diseases Tested

Parkinson’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease

Multiple Sclerosis

Frontotemporal dementia

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Refer to the pamphlets you all made during the beginning of MVP (e.g. ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s)!

Generic symptoms, known treatments, genes and environments, social impact



Aug. 26, 2023 (1st)

Sept. 9, 2023 (2nd): Central Dogma and Biomarkers– SEE GROUP WORK


P-values/logFC, t-tests, enrichment


Sept. 30, 2023 (5th): t-test, log in RNA expression data analysis


DNA base pairing, replication, and transcription

RNA processing (editing and splicing) and translation

The Central Dogma

Amino acids and codon relationships (no need to memorize specifics)

Basic knowledge of technologies measuring DNA sequences, RNA expression

Microarray analysis and electrophoresis


Sept. 9, 2023 (2nd): Central Dogma and Biomarkers

Other resources

Lecture slides from “Computational Biology Camp for High School Students”

DNA RNA Proteins from August 21, 2012

Gene Expressions from August 22, 2012

Additional lecture slides from the one-day camp on January 29, 2013

DNA-RNA-Protein measurement from January 29, 2013

Genes in Diseases from January 29, 2012

Computational Test (40 minutes, multiple choice + free response)

Examples of tasks for the computational test:

  1. Identify a gene related to the increased risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s with specific DNA sequences. This gene is on chromosome 19 and one of the four forms of this gene accounts for about 40 percent of all cases of late-onset Alzheimer’s. Write its general gene symbol, not differentiating the four forms.
  2. Identify the function of the gene (helpful sites: http://www.genecards.org, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gene)
  3. Find its genome position (helpful sites: http://genome.ucsc.edu/cgi-bin/hgGateway, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gene)
  4. What is the total number of transcribed sequences?
  5. Find the mRNA sequences* (helpful sites: http://genome.ucsc.edu/cgi-bin/hgGateway,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nuccore).
  6. Find only coding sequences among the mRNA sequences* (helpful sites: http://genome.ucsc.edu/cgi-bin/hgGateway: use “Genomic Sequence” rather than “mRNA” sequence for this task, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nuccore).

*No need to worry about U/T conversion or upper/lower cases (i.e. T will be considered as U).


GEO2R About Page: Explanations on defining groups, volcano plots, and boxplots. Analyzing datasets with GEO2R


Sept. 23, 2023 (4th): microarray | GEO | GEO2R for quick understanding samples
Oct. 7, 2023 (6th): GEO2R


String About Page: Explanations on creating String maps, interpreting String maps and enrichment analysis (GO, KEGG), and navigating the platform. Goes a bit too in-depth though, would not recommend spending much time studying this.


Oct. 14, 2023 (7th): String analysis

KEGG Pathways

KEGG About Page: Explanations on KEGG sidebar functions and includes a great diagram of KEGG map notations. Would definitely at least have a look at the map notations.


Oct. 21, 2023: Enriched function | GO, KEGG
Oct. 28, 2023: Enriched function | GO, KEGG



Sept. 16, 2023 (3rd): OMIM and SNP in UCSC genome browser, DNA to RNA



Dec. 10, 2022 (13th): GO KEGG Pathways GeneCards

UCSC Genome Browser


Sept. 16, 2023 (3rd): OMIM and SNP in UCSC genome browser, DNA to RNA



Nov. 4, 2023 (10th): R: basics
Nov. 11, 2023 (11th): R: data frame
Nov. 18, 2023 (12th): R: read table and graph

Other resources

UCSC Genome Browser Demo (prepared by a student)

Genes in general (from the One-day camp on January 29, 2013)

Using GEO2R to find biomarkers (from Saturday miRcore volunteer meetings)

Disease of focus: Neurodegenerative Diseases

General Topics



Genes and Environments

Social impact