BMI 883, Biomedical data science professional skills
University of Wisconsin-Madison
(1 credit)

Course meetings: Fri 11:00-11:50 (via BBCollaborate, in the “Course room” at the Canvas site)

Instructor: Karl Broman

Office hours: Tu 9:30-10:30, Fr 9:30-10:30, or by appointment (via BBCollaborate,

A variety of skills that are important for a successful research career are often left to students to develop on their own. This course attempts to fill many of those gaps, including writing and reviewing papers, security research funding, giving talks, presenting posters, making a personal website, job opportunities in universities and industry, and teaching.

Learning outcomes

  • Students will be able to describe the review processes for journal articles and research grant proposals.
  • Students will be able to write clear, well-formed journal articles and research grant proposals.
  • Students will be able to give a clear oral presentation of their research work.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of how diversity issues impact research and work environments
  • Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of research on unconscious bias (for example, in reviewing papers/grants, in writing/evaluating recommendation letters, and in hiring/promotion) and assumptions and strategies to overcome them.


The primary course activity will be discussion. Be prepared, be engaged, listen, and be respectful.

I ask that everyone strive toward the following:

Norms for discussion

  • Presume positive intentions
  • Engage respectfully
  • Listen attentively
  • Aim for equal participation
  • Respect boundaries
  • Provide evidence

Online working agreements

  • Use your video camera if possible
  • Use names to address each other
  • Use features (mute, raise hand, chat, etc) appropriately
  • Be okay with silence
  • Start and end on time

(taken from The Discussion Project)

Course grade

Course grade will be based on class participation (55%) and 3 homework assignments (45%).

The homework assignments will include: writing a review of a paper, writing an abstract to present at a scientific meeting, and writing the specific aims page for a grant proposal.

The class participation grade will be based on participation in each session, scored according to the following rubric:

Good contributor: Contributions in class reflect thorough preparation. Ideas offered are usually substantive, provide good insights and sometimes direction for the class. Challenges are well substantiated and often persuasive. (Score 3/3)

Adequate contributor: Contributions in class reflect satisfactory preparation. Ideas offered are sometimes substantive, provide generally useful insights but seldom offer a new direction for the discussion. Challenges are sometimes presented, fairly well substantiated, and are sometimes persuasive. (Score 2/3)

Weak contributor: Contributions in class reflect inadequate preparation. Ideas offered are seldom substantive, provide few if any insights and never a constructive direction for the class. Integrative comments and effective challenges are absent. (Score 1/3)

Non-participant: Says little or nothing in class. Hence, there is not an adequate basis for evaluation. (Score 0/3)

Grading scale: 92-100 (A), 87-91 (AB), 82-86 (B), 77-81 (BC), 70-76 (C), 60-69 (D), <60 (F)

Students are encouraged to discuss course content and homework assignments with each other, but the homework assignments are to be each student’s own, separate work.



Assigned readings appear in the course schedule. Students are expected to complete the reading assignments in advance of discussion.

Homework assignments

There will be three written homework assignments The homework assignments will include: writing a review of a paper, writing an abstract to present at a scientific meeting, and writing the specific aims page for a grant proposal.

Religious observances or other absences

If you need to miss class for religious observances, or any other reason, please let the instructor know in advance, or as soon as is feasible, so that we can try to make some accommodation.

Academic integrity

By virtue of enrollment, each student agrees to uphold the high academic standards of the University of Wisconsin-Madison; academic misconduct is behavior that negatively impacts the integrity of the institution. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, and helping others commit these previously listed acts are examples of misconduct which may result in disciplinary action. Examples of disciplinary action include, but is not limited to, failure on the assignment/course, written reprimand, disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion.

Accommodations for students with disabilities

The University of Wisconsin-Madison supports the right of all enrolled students to a full and equal educational opportunity. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Wisconsin State Statute (36.12), and UW-Madison policy (Faculty Document 1071) require that students with disabilities be reasonably accommodated in instruction and campus life. Reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities is a shared faculty and student responsibility. Students are expected to inform the instructor of their need for instructional accommodations by the end of the third week of the semester, or as soon as possible after a disability has been incurred or recognized. The instructor will work either directly with the student or in coordination with the McBurney Center to identify and provide reasonable instructional accommodations. Disability information, including instructional accommodations as part of a student’s educational record, is confidential and protected under FERPA.

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW-Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background – people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.