Quantitative Biology & Stats

Web pages, videos, resources for biology faculty wishing to integrate quantitative analysis and statistics. Please comment to add suggestions!

Created Feb 18, 2015; last updated July 11, 2017

An incredible site with visualizations of statistical and probability concepts! http://students.brown.edu/seeing-theory/index.html 

MinuteEarth video on Turing patterns (Aug 2016)

A concise guide to select the appropriate statistical test: (July 2016)  https://quantixed.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/the-digital-cell-statistical-tests/

Science Isn’t Broken – It’s Just Hell of a Lot Harder than We Give It Credit for by Christie Aschwanden, a FiveThirtyEight feature on reproducibility of scientific studies, misconduct, statistics, and the nature of scientific investigations. Has interactive analyze-it-yourself demo for readers to investigate whether the economy does better with Democrats or Republicans in power.

Common Misconceptions about Data Analysis and Statistics by J Mokulsky, published 2014

Cell Biology by the Numbers a textbook on quantitative aspects of cell biology, listed both here and in Cell biology resources

How to transition from Excel to R by Tony Ojeda, District Data Labs – instructions for how to do common Excel tasks in R.

Nature Methods: Error Bars A useful description of 3 different types of error bars (standard deviation, standard error, confidence intervals), how they compare, and how readers commonly misinterpret them. 2nd in their Points of Significance series.

An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes’ Theorem by Eliezer Yudkowsky. Somewhat long, but the most widely understandable explanation of what Bayes’ Theorem and Bayesian reasoning means, in the context of a story problem: “1% of women at age forty who participate in routine screening have breast cancer.  80% of women with breast cancer will get positive mammographies.  9.6% of women without breast cancer will also get positive mammographies.  A woman in this age group had a positive mammography in a routine screening.  What is the probability that she actually has breast cancer?”

This short (2 min) video explains the solution visually using Venn diagrams:

A fuller explanation of basic Bayesian probability estimates: https://www.r-bloggers.com/the-basics-of-bayesian-statistics/  added December, 2016

Gapminder: Unveiling the beauty of statistics for a fact based world view. – Gapminder.org Hans Rosling’s web site where nearly 500 statistical datasets, on world population, health, agriculture, carbon emissions, cancer rates, HIV/AIDS, etc. are brought to stunning life with amazing data visualizations. The data are interactive, so students can ask questions and explore relationships through the data.

Nature Publishing Statistics for Biologists web collection is now freely accessible.

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