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Python as a First Programming Language for Biomedical Scientists

Brian E. Chapman, Ph.D.
Department of Radiology, University of Utah

Jeannie Irwin, Ph.D.


We have been involved with teaching Python to biomedical scientists since 2005. In all, seven courses have been taught: 5 at the University of Pittsburgh, as a required course for biomedical informatics graduate students. Students have primarily been biomedical informatics graduate students with other students coming from human genetics, molecular biology, statistics, and similar fields. The range of prior computing experience has been wide: the majority of students had little or no prior programming experiences while a few students were experienced in other languages such as C/C++ and wanted to learn a scripting language for increased productivity. The semester-long courses have followed a procedural first approach then an introduction to object-oriented programming. By the end of the course students produce an independent programming project on a topic of their own choosing.


education, biomedical informatics, biomedical sciences



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