At the end of this course you are able to:
- compare the latest technologies for epigenetic profiling and choose the appropriate method to investigate a research question related to basic, translational or clinical research
- demonstrate how epigenetic knowledge can be translated into clinical practice
- critically evaluate research papers in the field of medical epigenetics by examining their strengths and weaknesses
- compose and orally present a follow-up or complementary plan on a primary research article, including a detailed experimental approach
- defend a proposed research plan, including the experimental approach, in a scientific discussion with other students
This course provides an overview of current concepts of epigenetics in health and disease, with a focus on mechanisms that are misregulated in, or unique to, diseases such as cancer. Various epigenetic features including protein binding sites, DNA methylation and genome structure will be discussed in the light of medical applications. The course is divided in four modules:
- Epigenomic technologies (including data integration) and proposal writing,
- Disease/Developmental Epigenetics
- Cancer (Epi)genomics and
- Translational Epigenetics.
The emphasis of the lectures will be on the concepts of the papers: how the research questions were formulated, and how the researchers set up the experiments and interpreted the results to reach their conclusions.
The theoretical part of this course (in the form of lectures as described above) is aimed at providing a framework that allows applying the obtained knowledge to design a research proposal. Such a case study represents an important skill for both master theses that will follow after this course.
During the afternoons, you will work in groups to write a research proposal based on a research paper in the field of medical epigenomics. This proposal should include detailed information on a first proof-op-principle experiment, and will be discussed with the supervisors. Additionally, you will orally present the research proposal.