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G4035y - Seminar in Epigenetics

Instructor: Dr. Songtao Jia

Course description: This is a combined lecture/seminar course designed for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. The focus is on understanding the mechanisms underlying epigenetic phenomena: the heritable inheritance of genetic states without change in DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms play important roles during normal animal development and oncogenesis. It is an area under intensive scientific investigation and the course will focus on recent advances in understanding these phenomena. In each class, students will present and discuss in detail recent papers and background material concerning each individual topic, followed by an introductory lecture on the following week’s topic. This course will emphasize critical analysis of the scientific literature and help students understand how to identify important biological problems and how to address them experimentally.


Genetics (3032/4032) or Molecular Biology (3512/4512), and the permission of the instructor.

Course requirements:

Students must read assigned paper (1-2/week) prior to class and be prepared to discuss the experimental approaches, outcomes and interpretations. Students will present the papers and lead discussions. Assessment will be based on class participation (10%), presentation (20%), midterm exam (20%) and final paper (50%).

During the midterm, the students will be asked to choose a recent paper suitable for future presentation, explain in detail why it deserves the merit. The final will be a proposal to continue the work of a paper. It will be graded on the novelty of design and feasibility of success.

Number of Credits: 3
Semester: spring  2012

Course Sections

Section Number: 001
Location: TBA
Days of the Week: Tuesday
Start Time: 2:10 am
End Time: 4:00 am
Course Website:
Instructor: Songtao Jia