Epigenetic Epidemiology

An online short course

This course aims to provide an overview of epidemiological principles that are relevant to epigenetic studies. The course will provide attendees with the knowledge, skills and code necessary to design, execute and interpret population-based epigenetic studies

Course date 23 - 25 March 2021
Course fee £660
Course Organisers Dr Matthew Suderman & Dr Paul Yousefi

Prerequisites

Please ensure you meet the following prerequisites before booking:

Knowledge A basic knowledge of epidemiology is required and some understanding of molecular genetics terminology would be advantageous. Some practical knowledge of R would be helpful. 
Software Prior to the course, attendees should have installed R on their computer. Detailed instructions will be made available closer to the start of the course.

Please note that this course attracts a highly multi-disciplinary audience. We do our utmost to accommodate this and ask that if in any doubt, prospective participants enquire prior to booking to check that the course is targeted at the right level for their needs.

Course format

This 3-day course will be online and consist of live sessions. Practical sessions will use the R programming language. Prior to the course, attendees should have installed R on their computer prior to the course. Detailed instructions will be made available closer to the start of the course.

Course objectives

By the end of the short course participants should be able to:
 
  1. discuss the utility of epigenetics in epidemiological studies;
  2. outline the strengths and weaknesses of various epigenetic epidemiological study designs;
  3. choose and apply appropriate statistical methods for different analyses of epigenetic data;
  4. interpret findings of epigenetic epidemiological studies;
  5. critically appraise epigenetic epidemiology literature;
  6. design epigenetic epidemiology studies and justify choice of design;
  7. discuss and apply possible approaches such as Mendelian randomization to strengthen causal inference in epigenetic epidemiology.

Who the course is intended for

This course is intended for individuals engaged in population-based studies who wish to incorporate epigenetic measures into their research. Attendees may have a background in epidemiology, molecular genetics, statistics, public health or a clinical speciality. A basic knowledge of epidemiology is required and some understanding of molecular genetics terminology would be advantageous. Some practical knowledge of R would be helpful. The course includes information on laboratory based methods but this will be aimed at the non-specialist (i.e. those without first-hand lab experience).

Please note that this course attracts a highly multi-disciplinary audience. We do our utmost to accommodate this and ask that if in any doubt, prospective participants enquire prior to booking to check that the course is targeted at the right level for their needs.

Course outline

Topics to be covered include:

  1. the various uses of epigenetic data in epidemiology (including as an exposure, outcome, mediator, indicator and predictor);
  2. the role of epigenetics in development and disease;
  3. key considerations in the design of epigenetic epidemiological studies (including choosing appropriate technologies and statistical analyses);
  4. interpreting epigenetic data (including genetics and epigenetics, region-based approaches, integration with gene expression, the use of bioinformatics);
  5. strengths and weaknesses of epigenetic studies, and critical appraisal of epigenetic epidemiology literature;
  6. causality in epigenetics (including the importance of establishing causality to address certain research questions, examples of causal inference techniques, applying Mendelian randomization in epigenetic epidemiology).

Recommended reading

Sharp GC, Relton CL. Epigenetics and noncommunicable diseases. Epigenomics 2017; 9(6): 789-791.

Relton CL, Davey Smith G. Is epidemiology ready for epigenetics? Int J Epidemiol 2012; 41(1): 5-9.

Horvath S. DNA methylation age of human tissues and cell types. Genome Biol 2013; 14(10): R115.

Joubert BR et al. DNA methylation in newborns and maternal smoking in pregnancy: Genome-wide consortium meta-analysis. Am J Hum Genet 2016 Mar 30.

Online Course Bookings


Bookings are open for online courses running in 2021.

The whole course was very interesting and carefully thought through. All the lecturers were very passionate about the research they were teaching.

Course feedback, April 2019

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We may need to make responsive changes to our courses at short notice in order to follow the latest Public Health, Government and University guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19).

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