Skill Pills

Skill Pills are a series of extracurricular intensive nanocourses designed for OIST students, taught by volunteer OIST members and open to all.

Skill Pills provides a platform for any OIST member to propose a specific topic for a course. When the topic is recognised to be valuable for the students and the OIST research community, the Graduate School will gather volunteer teachers and students, and organise the details of the course. Skill Pills will focus on providing to the participants a basic set of practical skills that will be of direct use in the students' research and graduate curriculum.

Target audience and teaching opportunities

Skill Pills are primarily designed around students’ specific needs, both theoretical and experimental, as determined directly by Faculty members and students themselves. OIST students will therefore be the primary target for participants, although once a given Skill Pill is decided on and organised, any remaining seats can be filled by members of the OIST community. Participation in Skill Pills is voluntary and should be driven by a will to learn above anything else.

Each nanocourse will be taught by volunteer faculty members, postdocs and even students gathered within OIST. With more than 360 researchers in its midst, OIST is overflowing with knowledge that is begging to be propagated. Skill Pills provide a great teaching opportunities to all researchers.

Modus operandi

Skill Pills exist within a flexible structure that can adapt to OIST members’ schedules as much as possible. The courses will follow several models, according to the topic of the course. For light topics (e. g. Introduction to LaTeX, or Git) short sessions of a few hours can be organised. For heavier topics (MATLAB, Introduction to Neural Networks) one or two-day intensive courses are preferable. 

The Skill Pills will focus as much as possible on problem solving with a hands-on approach so as to make sure that the participants will be walking away with practical tools they know how to use. Of course, a two day experience does not make one an expert, and hard work and perseverance is ultimately left to the participants’ capable hands, but Skill Pills will always aim to provide a friendly push in the right direction.

YouTube Channel and Gallery

We try to record as many Skill Pills as possible and we upload them unedited on our YouTube Channel.

We also have a few pictures available here.

Future Skill Pills

We list here all the Skill Pills that are currently planned. Follow the links below for more information or signing up.

 Skill Pill Date
Skill Pill: Intro to Programming August 5, 6, 7, 13
Skill Pill: Solving "Unsolvable" Differential Equations July 14, 15, 21
Skill Pill: Teaching Techniques for Scientists July 20, 22, 27
Skill Pill: GraphPad Prism July 21, 28, 29, August 4
Skill Pill: gnuplot August 17, 19, 24


Past Skill Pills

We list here past Skill Pills. Follow the links to get more information as well as downloading the slides or material of the course.

Skill Pills 2020

 Skill Pill Date
Skill Pill: Database Manipulation July 7, 10, 14
Skill Pill: Intro to Molecular Biology Methods July 6, 8 and 13
Skill Pill: Phylogenetic Comparative Methods May 18, 20, 22
Skill Pill: 3D Printing March 4 and 6
Skill Pill: R January 27, 30, March , 6
Skill Pill: Fiji February 26 and 27
Skill Pill: Graphic Design in Science January 21 and 22, 3-5PM

Skill Pills 2019

 Skill Pill Date
Skill Pill: Zsh December 18
Skill Pill: RNA-seq December 4, 5, 11, 12
Skill Pill: Intro to Cellular Biology November 6, 11 and 13
Skill Pill+: Neural Coding and Brain Computing November 9, 10
Skill Pill: Complex Analysis October 24, 29, 31,  3PM to 5PM
Skill Pill: Keynote October 28 and 30, 10AM-12PM
Skill Pill: LaTeX November, TBD
Skill Pill: Sozi October 2, 3PM to 5PM
Skill Pill: Arduino August 28, 29
Skill Pill: Git August 13, 14, 15, 1PM to 3PM
Skill Pill: Julia July 11, 12, 16, from 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: Computational Reproducibility June 27, from 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: MATLAB May 13, 15, 20, 22, 1PM to 3PM
Skill Pill: Terminal May 27, 28, June 2 3PM to 5PM
Skill Pill: Intro to Molecular Dynamics May 20, 23, 27
Skill Pill: macOS Tips and Tricks March 21, 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: Endnote April 19, 1PM to 3PM
Skill Pill: Intro to Programming March 19, 20, 26, 27
Skill Pill: Classical and ab initio Molecular Simulations February 18, 25 and March 4, 2PM-4PM
Skill Pill: Non-Equilibrium Green Functions February 25, 27 and March 6, 6, 10AM-12PM
Skill Pill: Blender February 19, 21, 26 and 28 , 10AM - 12PM
Skill Pill: Beautiful Python January 22 and 24, 10AM - 12PM
Skill Pill: Field Studies of Animals February 1, 10AM - 12PM
Skill Pill: Linear Dynamical Systems February 4 and 6, 3:30PM - 5:30PM
Skill Pill: Vector Calculus Identities January 10, 11, 17 and 18 (non-regular schedule)
Skill Pill: Quantitative Genetics January 10 and 11, 1PM-3PM

Skill Pills 2018

 Skill Pill Date
Skill Pill: Intro to Molecular Biology Methods December 5, 6 and 12, from 1PM to 3PM
Skill Pill+: Evolutionary Genomics December 15 (Saturday) and 16 (Sunday AM)
Skill Pill: Asymptote November 27, 28 and December 4, 1PM - 3PM
Skill Pill: Amira November 22, 27 and 29, 10AM - 12PM
Skill Pill: LaTeX November 6, 7, 13 and 14, from 1 to 3 PM
Skill Pill: Thermodynamics of Open Quantum Systems October 10 and 12, 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: Inkscape September 25 and 27, 1PM to 3PM
Skill Pill: Regular Expressions August 28 and 30, 1PM to 3PM
Skill Pill: Hands-on Electronics August 23, 27 and 29, from 1PM to 4 or 5PM
Skill Pill: Git July 10 and 12, 10AM - 12PM
Skill Pill: GIMP June 25 and  28, 1PM - 3PM
Skill Pill: BLAST July 17 and 18, 10AM - 12PM
Skill Pill: Building and Maintaining a CV July 3 and 5, 10AM - 12PM
Skill Pill: Terminal May 22, 24, 28, 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: Filmmaking for Scientists May 30, 31, June 6, AM
Skill Pill: 3D Printing May 14, 16, 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: Calculus of Variations April 23. 25, 27, 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: Teaching Techniques April 17, 19, 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: Phylogenetic Reconstruction April 10 (1PM to 3PM) and 12 (1PM to 4PM)
Skill Pill: Intro to Programming March 26, 29, April 2, 5, 1PM to 3PM
Skill Pill: Skill Pill: Android Development April 4, 1PM to 5PM
Skill Pill: LabVIEW March 20, 23, 27, 30, 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: Philosophy of Mind Feb 27, Mar 2, 6, 9, 10AM and 11AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: Bayesian statistics  January 18, 19, 25 and 26, 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: Visualizing Tomography Data February 6, 8 and 13, 10AM to 12PM


Skill Pills 2017

Skill Pill+: Nanoparticles by Design December 9 (Saturday) 10AM to 6PM
Skill Pill: Super-resolution Microscopy December 6, 7 or 8, 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: Electronics for Computational Neuroscience November 18 and 25 (Saturdays)
Skill Pill: Planning Your Scientific Journey Every Wednesday from October 4th to November 1st, 12PM to 1PM
Skill Pill: LaTeX November 6, 7, 13 and 14, 1PM to 3PM
Skill Pill: GPU November 7, 9 and 14, 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: Digital Marketing Wednesday October 11, from 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: MATLAB October 3, 5, 10 and 12, 10AM~12PM
Skill Pill: Keynote September 27 and 28, 10AM~12PM
Skill Pill: Raspberry Pi Saturday September 9, 10AM to 6PM
Skill Pill: Linux August 22, 24 and 29, 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: Python July 31, August 3, 7, 10, 10AM to 12PM
Skill Pill: General Relativity Tuesdays from July 11 to August 29 (2PM)
Skill Pill: Julia July 4, 6, 11 and 13 (5-7PM)
Skill Pill: Intro to Bioinformatics June 17, 24 (Saturdays, 10AM-6PM) + June 16 (3-5PM)
Skill Pill: SolidWorks May 18, 19, 25, 26 (10-12PM) + May 17 (11AM-12PM)
Skill Pill: Calculus May 17, 18, 24, 25 (5-7PM)
Skill Pill: DMRG May 29th and June 1st (1:30PM - 3PM)
Skill Pill: Terminal April 5, 6 and 10 (5-7PM)
Skill Pill: Differential Operators March 23, 27 and 30 (5-7PM)
Skill Pill: Intro to Programming March 18 and 25 (Saturdays, 10AM-6PM)
Skill Pill: Quantum Information 2 February 16, 22, 23 (5-7PM)
Skill Pill: Intro to Neurobiology February 4 and 11 (Saturdays)
Skill Pill: LaTeX January 30, February 2, 6, 9 (5-7PM)


Skill Pills 2016

Skill Pill: C/C++ December 10, 17 (Saturdays)
Skill Pill: Fourier Transforms December 1, 7 and 8 from 5 to 7PM
Skill Pill: Next-gen Sequencing November 17, 19 and 23
Skill Pill: gnuplot November 14 and 21 from 5 to 7PM
Skill Pill: R October 22 and 29 (Saturdays), 10AM to 6PM
Skill Pill: Quantum Information October 17 and 24 (Mondays), 5 to 7PM
Skill Pill: Mathematica September 13, 14, 20 and 21 (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) from 5 to 7PM
Skill Pill: Materials Modeling and Simulation September 10 (Saturday) from 10AM to 6PM
Skill Pill: Keynote September 6 and 7 (Tuesday, Wednesday) from 5 to 7PM
Skill Pill: LabVIEW July 19, 20, 26, 27, August 9, 10, from 5PM to 7PM (Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
Skill Pill: Inkscape July 25th and August 1st, from 1PM to 3PM
Skill Pill: Data Structures and Algorithms with Python July 23rd and 30th (consecutive Saturdays) 
Skill Pill: Database Manipulation June 21st, 23rd, 28th, 30th from 5PM to 7PM
Skill Pill: Intro to Cellular Biology May 14th and 21st, 2016 (Consecutive Saturdays)
Skill Pill: Git June 1st (Wed.) and 2nd (Thur.) from 5PM to 7PM
Skill Pill: Arduino April 16th, from 10AM to 5:30PM (Saturday)
Skill Pill: Presentation Skills April 14th, from 10AM to 5:30 PM (Thursday during Final Fortnight)
Skill Pill: CAD with SOLIDWORKS March 30th, 31st, April 6th, 7th from 1PM to 3PM (weekdays)
Skill Pill: Differential Equations March 26th and 27th, 2016 (Saturday and Sunday)
Skill Pill: Terminal March 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th from 5PM to 7PM (weekdays)
Skill Pill: Gravitational Waves March 7th, 8th and 10th, 2016, from 4:30PM.
Skill Pill: Statistics February 27th and 28th, 2016 (Saturday and Sunday)
Skill Pill: Programming with Python February 13th and 20th, 2016 (Consecutive Saturdays)
Skill Pill: Matrix Algebra January 30th and 31st, 2016 (Saturday and Sunday)
Skill Pill: LaTeX January 18, 21, 25 and 28, 2016 (From 5PM to 7PM)
Skill Pill: Group Theory January 16th and 23rd, 2016 (Consecutive Saturdays)


Skill Pills 2015

Skill Pill: MATLAB November 28-29th, 2015 (Saturday-Sunday)


Credits and recognition

Because of the unscripted and unaccredited nature of Skill Pill, participants will not be able to earn OIST credits that contribute to their degree. Skill Pill completion will, however, be recognized by means of eFront certificates. Furthermore, we are confident that the practical skills the students will work towards acquiring will be fully rewarding in their own right.

For Skill Pills teachers, participation will be officially recorded and recognition will be addressed in the most appropriate way possible, such as logging those hours towards the required teaching hours for OIST students, or by issuing official certificates for students, postdocs and faculty. 

We will however require that the direct supervisor of the prospective teachers should be notified in advance of the participation.

Proposing a topic

If you would like to see a custom Skill Pill organized, contact Jeremie Gillet. In case where the topic is very specific (e. g. Group Theory for physicists), we will ask you to find at least 2 or 3 teachers and 5 or 6 students on your own before we validate the nanocourse and open it to the OIST community to find additional teachers and students. 


For more information about Skill Pill, never hesitate to contact Jeremie Gillet.