2017 Summer Camp at Scripps

 Computational Biology Camp for High School Students at Scripps Translational Science Institute

TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) Data analysis



Students with camp certificates will be qualified to become miRcore volunteers. Each school year, high school volunteers choose a disease of focus of the year, collaborate with similar level students to research the disease, and lead a school club GIDAS (pronounce: guide-us; Genes in Diseases and Symptoms). We are grateful that the Scripps Translational Science Institute is sponsoring the camp. We are building a high school student research hub in San Diego and to connect different regional students through an online meeting platform.


NOTE: Based on student requests, we decided to offer a two-week camp (non-residential) to generate significant research results. The one-week option is available for either week, but there is a pre-requisite* for the second week-only option.


DATE: Week 1: June 19 – June 23;    Week 2: June 26 – June 30, 2017 (Mon – Fri)    TIME: 9 am – 4:30 pm


Please note that this camp is not residential.


LOCATION: The Scripps Research Institute and Scripps Translational Science Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037


INTENDED AUDIENCE: Current (2016-17) high school and 8th grade students interested in computers, math, biology, and medicine.


FEE: $1205 for both weeks (with membershp: $1085); $615 for one week (with membership*: $535.00)

We have a limited number of partial scholarships available for students with free or reduced price lunch.  Once you register (no fee for registration), we will send payment information along with the scholarship application.


*You may want to consider high school student membership.


Bring a laptop and lunch (morning and afternoon snacks provided).


Sponsor: Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI)




  1. Expose high school students to career opportunities in biomedicine through hands-on experience in computational genomics and prepare them for the emerging era of medical genomics, when all doctors must be well-acquainted with genetic discoveries, technologies, and applications.
  2. Give research opportunities to high school students beyond the school setting.
  3. Identify potential GIDAS (Genes In Diseases And Symptoms) club leaders at their schools.


Specific Aims

Week 1

  1. Differentiate gene entities (DNA, RNA, and proteins) and understand the mechanisms of gene expression (transcription and translation).
  2. Understand genetic biomarkers in a disease context and the effects of environmental factors such as exercise, food consumption, substance abuse, and medication.
  3. Learn about personalized medicine (precision medicine – President Obama’s 2015 initiative).
  4. Be familiar with career paths related to computational biology.
  5. Become familiar with the National Center for Biotechnology Information database and software package.
  6. Learn tools and concepts, useful for individual research projects.


Week 2

  1. Understand the mechanisms of gene regulation (transcription factors, methylation, and microRNA).
  2. Learn to use R packages.
  3. Understand the TCGA database and various types of cancers.
  4. Integrate multiple level data (DNA, RNA, and protein) to find specific cancer biomarkers.
  5. Develop collaborative teamwork.
  6. Learn and obtain tools, concepts, and datasets, useful for individual research projects**.


*Pre-requisite for the second week-only option: Previous computational biology camp attenders or similar experience holders.


**Student research paper based on the previous TCGA camp materials:

  1. H. Kabat, L. Tunkle, and I. Lee.   ceRNA Search Method Identified a MET-activated Subgroup Among EGFR DNA Amplified Lung Adenocarcinoma Patients. Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing  22, 438-448 (2017). 


Databases, tools, and concepts for week 1

  1. PubMed Health
  2. OMIM
  3. GEO
  4. GEO2R
  5. String-db
  6. GO
  7. KEGG
  8. GeneCards
  9. PharmGKB
  10. AERSMines
  11. Microarray
  12. T-test
  13. Enrichment testing
  14. MicroRNA


Databases, tools, and concepts for week 2

  1. GDC
  2. TCGA
  3. R
  4. DESeq2
  5. Copy number variation
  6. RNAseq
  7. Pearson correlation
  8. Heatmap
  9. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering




Overall daily activities (subject to change)

9:00 – 10:00 am   check out what you know, games
10:00 – 11:00 am   lectures covering specific aims, snacks
11:00 – noon   hands-on activities in genomics
noon – 1:00 pm   lunch
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm   computer-based guided investigation in genomics, games
2:00 – 3:00 pm   individual research to solve a daily question on a disease using computational genomics, snacks
3:00 – 3:30 pm   student presentations, games
3:30 – 4:30 pm   career discussion with a professional


Tentative Career focus

Computational and experimental biologist (academic career)

Physician (medical)

Pharmaceutics/biotechnology (careers in industry)


Week 1 Thursday (June 22nd)

We will meet at Illumina (leading maker of next-gen sequencing machines) for hands-on field trip led by scientists at the company.


Week 1 Friday (June 23rd)

Parents are invited to students’ presentations (afternoon).

Each group will suggest a way of preventing the disease based on the week’s research.

Recognition of the best disease solution.


Refund Policy

The $100 administrative fee will not be refunded once the camp application is accepted.

If a student withdraws, the camp fee paid minus the administrative fee will be refunded if we are notified by May 20, 2017.

If a student withdraws between May 21 and June 3, 2017, we will refund 50 percent of the camp fee paid.

No refund will be given after June 4, 2017.