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Course module: BMB509413
Gene expression, Epigenetics and Disease
Course info
Course codeBMB509413
ECTS Credits3
Category / LevelM (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Medicine; Graduate School of Life Sciences; Cancer, Stem Cells and Development Biology;
Contact persondr. E. Kalkhoven
Contactperson for the course
dr. E. Kalkhoven
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
MASTER  (20/08/2018 to 17/08/2019)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slot-: Not in use
Study mode
RemarkRegister via CS&D students have priority til 3 weeks before start. Max 40 students.
Enrolling through OSIRISNo
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesNo
Waiting listNo
Learning goals:
At the end of the course, the student is able to:
1. understand the regulatory principles of chromatin structure and modification
2. explain the three classes of gene regulatory proteins and their molecular interaction
3. explain the molecular underpinning of several human pathologies
Period (from – till): 28 January - 8 Febuary 2019

Course coordinator:
Dr. Eric Kalkhoven

Dr. Eric Kalkhoven, Center for Molecular Medicine UMCU
Prof. Dr. Wouter de Laat, Hubrecht Institute
7-10 guest lecturers

Description of content
Regulation of gene expression is pivotal for the understanding of developmental programs, cellular homeostasis and many disease states including cancer, immune diseases and metabolic disorders. The gene transcription process is critically linked to regulation of chromatin. Epigenetic mechanisms such as histone modifications can transmit active/inactive states of a gene through cellular divisions. The study of transcription and chromatin regulation has received a great impetus through the availability of whole genome sequences, which sparked novel applications of high-throughput sequencing technologies. Integration of biochemistry, molecular biology, genomics, proteomics and cell biology approaches can now provide unprecedented insight into transcription and chromatin regulation in health and disease.
This course will teach the crucial concepts of regulation of gene expression, with a focus on the process of transcription at the molecular level, but also including concepts derived from cellular, developmental and disease states. Epigenetics, chromatin and genome organization will be taught, as well as state-of-the-art strategies and techniques in the field of gene regulation and genome research, all with a reference to human disease.
The covered topics are: nuclear organization, genome/gene organization, the pol II transcription machinery, chromatin regulation, epigenetics, regulation through small and long non-coding RNAs. Many techniques will be explained, including classical assays used to investigate transcription, as well as high-throughput genomic approaches and systems biology analyses. When you are only superficially interested in mechanisms of gene expression/epigenetics, this course is not suitable for you.
The course consists of a combination of lectures, exercises, literature and discussions and closes with a written exam. A large part is taught by leading (inter)national scientists (9-11 different instructors in total). The course is ideal to become acquainted with top labs working in gene expression control. The course is intense and challenging and requires full attention throughout the full duration. Although many basic molecular principles will be reintroduced, the course is only suited for students with a basic molecular understanding of gene expression and chromatin through bachelor programs such as Biomolecular Sciences taught from textbooks like Molecular Biology of the Cell (“Alberts”) or Genes (“Lewin”). In previous years this course was rated very highly (8.2-8.7).

Please register online on the CS&D website: CS&D students have priority in registration until 3 weeks before the start of the course. Thereafter, registration is on 'first-come-first-serve' basis until the maximum number of 40 participants is reached.
Literature/study material used

Research papers, handed out during the course

Mandatory for students in Master’s programme

Optional for students in other GSLS Master’s programme:
Prerequisite knowledge:
Students must have a basic molecular understanding of gene expression and chromatin through bachelor programs such as Biomolecular Sciences taught from textbooks like Molecular Biology of the Cell (“Alberts”) or Genes (“Lewin”).
Entry requirements
Required materials
Instructional formats
Core lecture

Final result
Test weight100
Minimum grade5.5

Kies de Nederlandse taal