BIOL 039

This course will address the basic principles of epigenetics, the role of epigenetic mechanisms in normal development and human disease, and the development of epigenetically effective drugs. The objective is to provide a solid foundation of information enabling participants to design experiments when returning to their own research lab. The course will also provide a solid background in order to understand the literature in this rapidly growing field. Sequencing of the human genome has been the first step in understanding human genetics. The chemical modifications to DNA and the chemical interactions involving the manufacture of proteins represents a second level of human genetics termed epigenetics or epigenomics. Epigenetics refers to the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur without a change in DNA sequence. Research has shown that epigenetic mechanisms provide an additional layer of transcriptional control that regulates how genes are expressed. Epigenetic abnormalities are associated with genetic disorders, cancer, autoimmune diseases, aging, and pediatric syndromes, among others. Lectures cover basic mechanism underlying DNA methylation, histone modification, chromatin organization, noncoding RNA, and gene repression. Moreover, a broad range of topics will be covered in epigenetic research, including cancer, development, environmental health, and immunology. In addition, the lectures will provide participants with practical information concerning current techniques in epigenetic research. For example, the application of CHARM, Illumina bead arrays, restriction enzyme analysis, and bisulfate sequencing is discussed in designing experiments and interpreting data. In the laboratory, participants will gain hands-on experience in techniques including methyl specific PCR, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and global DNA methylation assays.



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