Genetic Epidemiology

Course dates

3 - 7 June 2019

Course duration

5 days (approximately 36 hours teaching with a combination of lectures and practicals).
Registration will start at 8.30am on the first day, the course will finish by 5pm on the final day.

Course tutors

Dr Sarah LewisDr Lavinia Paternoster (course organisers) and others.

Course aims 

Participants will gain a grounding in a wide range of cutting-edge genetic epidemiological methods for complex traits.

Course objectives

By the end of the course participants should be able to: 

  1. understand the major sources of genetic variation in the genome;
  2. infer the genetic architecture of a trait using results from family studies, association studies and whole genome approaches;
  3. carry-out a genetic association analysis for a single nucleotide polymorphism;
  4. design and analyse a basic genome-wide association study using appropriate software;
  5. consider population structure and its application to genetic association studies;
  6. work with a range of genetic data types: e.g. genotyped, imputed, sequenced, polygenic risk scores;
  7. utilise online bioinformatic resources to explore the functional properties of genetic variation;
  8. interpret results from studies of molecular gene regulation (e.g. expression and methylation);
  9. utilise results from genetic association studies to investigate genetic correlation and causality in epidemiological associations. 

Who the course is intended for

  • Epidemiologists
  • Statisticians
  • Molecular biologists
  • Clinicians
  • Psychologists

Please note: This course will require students to use analytical software in a command-line Linux environment. We will include all instructions, but do recommend that you have some experience of this computer environment before the course.

Course outline

Introduction to genetics (optional pre-course videos):

  • molecular structure
  • variation & population structure

Introduction to data types and formats: 

  • genotyping
  • imputed genetic data 
  • sequence data
  • other ‘omics (e.g. expression, methylation)
  • use of summary statistics

Heritability and genetic architecture of complex traits:

  • twin studies
  • whole genome approaches

Genetic association of complex traits:

  • statistical tests for association
  • genome-wide association study (GWAS) analysis
  • study design, confounding, statistical power
  • construction & use of polygenic risk scores
  • next Generation Sequence analysis
  • bioinformatic follow-up of results to explore functional mechanisms

Related study designs:

  • other ‘omics (e.g. expression, methylation)
  • Mendelian randomization for causal inference in epidemiology
  • recall by genotype studies

Please note: This course will be held in a computer lab, so you will not need to bring a laptop.


Make a booking
Please note this course is now fully booked. To be added to the waiting list please complete the booking request form. 

This course provided a very good overview of genetic epidemiology. Being a very complex subject in itself, it was great in that we went from the very basics to more complex topics.

Course feedback, April 2017

Course fee


More information on course fees, fee waivers and reduced prices.

Course venue

Bristol Medical School
Canynge Hall
39 Whatley Road
United Kingdom

Map and directions

Course refreshments

We provide morning and afternoon refreshment breaks, including tea and coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit.

If you have specific dietary needs we ask that you let us know in advance.

Lunch is not included. There are a range of local cafes and supermarkets nearby for students to purchase lunch. 


Information about accommodation in the area.


For further information please email

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