Sequencing of the human genome was not the endpoint of our goal 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.
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 of the program is to provide a solid foundation of information enabling participants to design experiments when returning to their own research lab. Furthermore, to provide a solid background in order to understand the literature in this rapidly growing field.
Participating instructors are primarily active researchers from neighboring institutes and universities who have been publishing in these areas for several years.
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. The lectures also provide the participant with practical information concerning current techniques in epigenetic research. For example, the application of ChIP-Seq, ATAC-Seq, CHARM, Illumina bead arrays, restriction enzyme analysis, bisulfite sequencing, and RNA interference are discussed, and context is provided via descriptions of experimental design, data analysis, and interpretation and validation of results.
In the virtual lab settings, we will teach DNA extraction, bisulfite conversion, and quantitative methylation-specific PCR, which represent a core foundation for current next-generation sequencing approaches (such as BS-Seq) to methylation analysis.
The computational lab aims to provide an understanding of the bioinformatic approaches and computational methods used to analyze DNA methylation and chromatin data. Such approaches are relevant to the analysis of data from many cutting-edge technologies, and should prove useful for those interested in conducting a variety of epigenetic experiments and research projects.
Lecture and Laboratory Topics include:
- Intro to Chromatin Organization and DNA Modifications
- Gene Expression and Non-coding RNAs, including circular RNA
- Epigenetic research in Plants and Marines, as well as Cancer, Development, and Environmental Health
- Methylation-specific PCR, Illumina Bead Arrays, DNA Hydroxymethylation, Pyrosequencing, Restriction
- Chromatin Immunoprecipitation, ChIP-based qRT-PCR, ChIP-Seq, ATAC-Seq, HiC, DNase-Seq
- Virtual Hands-on-experience on DNA extraction, bisulfite conversion, performance and analysis of QMSP
- Hands-on-experience on high-throughput data analysis and integration
Although no grades are given for courses, each participant will receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) based on the number of contact hours. One CEU is equal to ten contact hours. Upon completion of this course each participant will receive a certificate, showing completion of the workshop and 3.0 CEUs.
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