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University of Colorado System

Genetic Epidemiology Foundations

University of Colorado System via Coursera

Overview

This course is presented by the University of Colorado Denver in collaboration with the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the International Genetic Epidemiology Society. It is designed to provide students with the background and knowledge foundations necessary to conduct statistical analysis of genetic association study data. This course includes multiple lectures and evaluations on each of the topics: the history of genetics research presented by Dr. Nancy Cox, foundational concepts in population genetics presented by Dr. Bruce Weir, population structure in genetic association studies presented by Dr. Todd Edwards, quality control in genetic studies presented by Dr. Goncalo Abecasis, analysis of population-based case-control association studies presented by Dr. Celia Greenwood, and analysis of family-based studies presented by Dr. Joan Bailey-Wilson. Examples of concepts and reference literature are also provided in this 6-module course.

Syllabus

  • What is Genetic Epidemiology? Historical Perspective and Introduction
    • Taught by Dr. Nancy Cox, Vanderbilt University Medical Center. In this module you will better understand genetic epidemiology from its origins to how modern ‘omics is integrated into genetic epidemiology of complex traits. Coverage includes introduction of liability and threshold models, genetic regulation of gene expression, and transcriptome imputation.
  • Introduction to Population Genetics: Models and Assumptions
    • Taught by Dr. Bruce Weir, University of Washington. Methods and designs using genetic data are built upon the foundation of population genetics. In this module, you will learn these foundations, including the Hardy Weinberg principle, genetic drift, population structure, inbreeding, and linkage disequilibrium. These principles will be essential to subsequent modules in this course.
  • Population Structure and Genetic Association Studies
    • Taught by Dr. Todd Edwards, Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Building from the introduction to population genetics, in this module you will learn processes that lead to genetic differences between populations, methods to characterize these differences, and how to conduct association studies in structured populations. In addition, you will be able to describe how admixture methods can be applied for association mapping.
  • Basic Quality Control in Genetic Data: Data Structure
    • Taught by Dr. Gonçalo Abecasis, University of Michigan and Regeneron, Inc. Quality control is an important step for high throughput genotype data. In this module, you will learn a range of different approaches to identify and to deal with quality problems at different stages of the analysis. In addition, genotype imputation is introduced to infer genotypes at markers that were not typed in the study samples.
  • Population-Based Association Studies
    • Taught by Dr. Celia Greenwood, McGill University. Population based association studies have played an important role in mapping genes and genomic regions for complex traits by detecting association between alleles and a trait. In this module, you will learn basic measures of association, common modeling strategies, how to adjust for multiple testing and why, how to evaluate association results, and how to increase reproducibility of study results, including the use of meta-analysis and genetic imputation.
  • Family-Based Designs
    • Taught by Dr. Joan Bailey Wilson, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health. In this module, you will learn about the various ways in which family-based collections of genetic data are utilized in Genetic Epidemiology. This includes methods that provide support that a genetic component to a trait exists as well as to identify modes of inheritance consistent with a set of data. In addition, linkage methods, which identify large regions of the genome, and association methods, which identify a smaller set of variants, are covered to understand genetic factors affecting a trait.

Taught by

Todd Edwards and Stephanie A. Santorico

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