Amsterdam, Netherlands

Nature and Nurture: Twin Research and Human Genetics

when 1 July 2023 - 15 July 2023
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 EC
fee EUR 1050

Do twins hold the key to understanding complex human traits and diseases? Can they resolve the age-old debate between nature and nurture? Thanks to recent technological advances, we are closer than ever to explaining where our individual differences come from. Our ability to map human DNA at high resolution in large populations is now enabling us to link genetic variation to traits and diseases on a molecular level.

This interdisciplinary course puts you at the forefront of these exciting and important developments.

We focus on twins to explore the interplay of genes and environment in determining behaviour, lifestyle, and health. Uniquely, you will gain hands-on access to the world-renowned Netherlands Twin Register at VU Amsterdam – one of the largest longitudinal databases of its kind. The tutors are scientists closely associated with this core asset, the people who collect the information and work with it on a daily basis to unravel the genetic etiology of a wide range of medical conditions and personal characteristics. They will train you in working with twin data and information from genomics and epigenetics. You will learn how to collect material on behaviour and health and how to use molecular data to better understand the path from genetics to medicine.

Naturally, we will also cover the theoretical and philosophical background to help you interpret genetic studies, understand effective methods and designs and increase your understanding of complex human traits.

Course leader

Bruno Sauce Silva

Target group

Bachelor and Master students, PhD candidates and professionals are welcome to apply. The course is especially recommend for those with an interest in twin research and human genetics.

Course aim

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

- Understand and interpret results from genetic studies of complex human behavioural traits.
- Understand the current state of human genetics research from a historical perspective and can contribute to discussions about gene-environment interaction.
- Analyse genetically informative twin and family data.
- Understand the assessment and diagnosis of traits and phenotypes.
Work with multiple “-omics” data: genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics and microbiomics.

Credits info

3 EC
45 contact hours

Fee info

EUR 1050: Tuition fees two-week course

VU Students/PhD candidates and employees of VU Amsterdam* or an Aurora Network Partner €700
Students at Partner Universities of VU Amsterdam €950
Students and PhD candidates at non-partner universities of VU Amsterdam €1050
Professionals €1250

Early Bird offer
Applications received before 15 March (14 March CET 23:59) receive €50 Early Bird discount!


VU Amsterdam Summer School offers two kinds of scholarships: the Equal Access Scholarship and the Photographer Scholarship. More information can be found on the VU Amsterdam Summer School website.