BICCN Omics Workshop 2021


The BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) is hosting two half-day workshops to highlight the datasets, tools, and resources generated by the BICCN. These FREE virtual events will include hands-on exercises training attendees in the use of cloud and web resources to engage in single-cell transcriptome data analysis and visualization. There are separate registration sites for each of the two days. You are welcome to register for both workshops.

October 1, 2021 - BICCN Data Exploration Workshop

The Data Exploration workshop will focus on the query and exploration of analyzed data associated with genes and cells. It is geared for biologists and no programming experience is required. (See the Agenda tab for more information.)

This year's workshops have concluded, please check back for future dates.

October 7, 2021 - BICCN Data Processing Workshop

The Data Processing component is geared towards bioinformaticians who would like to engage in primary analysis of data using BICCN community pipelines. (See the Agenda tab for more information.)

This year's workshops have concluded, please check back for future dates.


BICCN Data Exploration Workshop - October 1st, 2021
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern

The Data Exploration workshop will focus on the query and exploration of analyzed data associated with genes and cells. This workshop is geared for the biologist and will provide instruction on the use of a variety of tools for interrogating and visualizing BICCN data. Attendees will approach data in a global as well as local context through hands-on exercises employing various tools. No programming experience is required or expected.

  • Overview of the ecosystem and data (12:00-12:45)
    • 12:00 - 12:25 - Overview of the ecosystem - An introduction to the user journeys that will be explored in the workshop and the tools that will be employed
    • 12:25 - 12:45 - Orientation to the data set - A description of the dataset that will be used throughout the workshop.
  • Tools and resources for visualization and query of analysis results. An overview of four different tools and resources with associated hands-on exercises. (Please see the Tools Covered tab for more information on each tool.)
    • 12:45 - 1:45 NeMO Analytics and EpiViz
    • 1:45 - 2:00 - Break
    • 2:00 - 3:50 Bio tools rotations
      • Brainome
      • CATlas
      • CellxGene
    • 3:50 - 4:00 - Workshop wrap-up

BICCN Data Processing Workshop - October 7th, 2021
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern

In the Data Processing workshop, participants will learn through hands-on activities how to find BICCN data of interest, export it to the bioinformatics platform Terra, analyze it with BICCN-related pipelines and community tools like Seurat, and visualize it with Single Cell Portal, a resource for disseminating single-cell data.

  • 12:00-4:00 - Tools and resources for use of BICCN Community pipelines. (Please see the Tools Covered tab for more information on each tool.)
    • 12:00 - 12:30 - Intro to Terra/NeMO Portal, Search For Data, and Data Download
    • 12:30 - 1:40 - Run your Workflows
    • 1:40 - 2:30 - Explore data using Notebooks
    • 2:30 - 2:45 - Break
    • 2:45 - 3:15 - Broad Single Cell Portal
    • 3:15 - 4:00 - Wrap-up and Conclusion

Tools Covered

gEAR: Gene Expression Analysis Resource

The Neuroscience Multi-Omic (NeMO) Analytics portal enables web-based visualization and analysis of multi-omic data describing cell types in the developing and adult brain, powered by gEAR and EpiViz. The portal includes single-cell and bulk tissue RNA-seq, ATAC-seq, and ChIP-seq from the fetal human prefrontal cortex, as well as stem cell models of neural induction. The portal will expand to include multiple regions of the developing and adult brain and additional analytical tools.

Broad Single Cell Portal:

Built on top of Terra, the Broad Single Cell Portal is a cloud-based, scalable web application that aims to accelerate reproducible single-cell research through:

  • enabling scientists to transform complex data into actionable insights through interactive visualizations;
  • extending single cell genomics analysis to any scientist by providing curated pipelines and analysis;
  • centralizing downloadable data, visualizations, and analysis to enable reproducible analysis;
  • providing easy and secure sharing mechanisms to support all stages of scientific inquiry.


Epiviz is an interactive visualization tool for functional genomics data. It supports genome navigation like other genome browsers, but in addition allows multiple visualizations of data within genomic regions using scatterplots, heatmaps, and other user-supplied options. It also includes data from the Gene Expression Barcode project for transcriptome visualization.

NeMO Archive:

The Neuroscience Multi-omic Archive (NeMO Archive) is a data repository specifically focused on the storage and dissemination of omic data generated from the BRAIN Initiative and related brain research projects.


Terra is a scalable platform for biomedical research that allows you to access data, run analysis tools and collaborate. Analysis capabilities include an automated workflow system for pipelining large scale analyses, as well as flexible computing environments for interactive analysis using popular applications such as Jupyter notebooks, RStudio (alpha), and Galaxy (alpha).


A genome browser built by the Mukamel lab ( to visualize the cell type-specific transcriptomes and epigenomes of 56 neuronal cell types from the mouse primary motor cortex. Each cell type has 3 tracks, representing its DNA methylation, open chromatin, and gene expression profiles. Users can choose which tracks to show, and how they want to order and color them. The user customizations are recorded in the URL, which can be shared with others or saved for further self explorations. The browser also contains links to other related resources, including a cell browser with UMAP embeddings and clusterings, a mouse brain anatomy browser (Hongwei Dong's lab), and NeMO analytics.


The mammalian cerebrum performs high-level sensory, motion control, and cognitive functions through highly specialized cortical structures and subcortical nuclei. Recent surveys of mouse and human brains with single-cell transcriptomics and high-throughput imaging technologies have uncovered hundreds of neuronal cell types and a variety of non-neuronal cell types distributed in different brain regions, but the cell-type specific transcriptional regulatory programs responsible for the unique identity and function of each brain cell type have yet to be elucidated. Here, we probe the accessible chromatin in >800,000 individual cells from 45 regions spanning the adult mouse isocortex, olfactory bulb, hippocampus and cerebral nuclei, and use the resulting data to define 491,818 candidate cis-regulatory DNA elements in 160 distinct cell groups. We link a significant fraction of them to putative target genes expressed in diverse cerebral cell types and uncover transcriptional regulators involved in a broad spectrum of molecular and cellular pathways in different neuronal and glial cell populations. Our results provide a foundation for comprehensive analysis of gene regulatory programs of the mammalian brain and facilitate the interpretation of non-coding risk variants associated with various neurological diseases and traits in humans.


cellxgene is a web-based platform for viewing and interacting with large scale single-cell datasets. Users explore the data in reduced dimensionality space and can quickly highlight cell types, gene expression and cell clusters based on associated metadata. Differentially expressed genes can be identified between any cell grouping and sub-setting of cells for further analysis is possible. The underlying software is freely available, and users can host their own instance of cellxgene or use locally.

Participating Organizations

  • University of Maryland School Of Medicine, Baltimore MD
  • Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine
  • The Broad Institute, Boston MA
  • The Allen Institute for Brain Sciences, Seattle WA
  • UMD/Genentech
  • University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA
  • Salk Institute

BICCN Omics Workshop Recordings

October 2021 workshops

January 2021 workshops

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