Amsterdam, Netherlands

Nature & Nurture: Twin Research and Human Genetics

blended course
when 3 July 2021 - 17 July 2021
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 EC
fee EUR 850

NOTE: Given the insecurity about the development of covid-19 and its influence on on-campus (offline) activities, all –then applicable- guidelines from the Dutch government will be followed. On 1 May, we will decide whether this course can run on-campus or if it will be given online.

Do twins hold the key to understanding complex human traits and diseases? Can they resolve the age-old debate between nature and nurture? What is determined by our DNA, what comes from our environment? 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 disease at the molecular level.
This interdisciplinary course puts you at the forefront of these exciting and important developments. You focus on twins to explore the interplay of genes and environment in determining behaviour, lifestyle and health.

Uniquely, you gain hands-on access to the world-renowned Netherlands Twin Register at VU Amsterdam – one of the largest longitudinal databases of its kind. Your 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 train you in working with twin data and information from genomics and epigenetics. You 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 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

Jenny van Dongen, prof. Meike Bartels, Dr Abdel Abdellaoui, prof. Dr Dorret I. Boomsma, prof. Dr Eco J. C. de Geus, prof. Dr Conor Dolan, Dr Michel Nivard, Dr Dennis van ‘t Ent, Dr Elsje van Bergen, Dr Gonneke Willemsen, Dr Jouke-Jan Hottenga, Dr Rick Jan

Target group

All students and professionals interested in the rapidly evolving field of human genetics, especially those aspiring to join its international research community. This summer school is also a good introduction to the research master Genes in Behaviour and Health. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students and professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds. Experience with BSc-level statistics and research methods is recommended.

Course aim

At the end of this course, you:
•Understand and can interpret results from genetic studies of complex human behavioural traits.
•Understand the current state of human genetics research in a historical perspective and can contribute to discussions about gene-environment interaction.
•Can analyse genetically informative twin and family data.
•Understand the assessment and diagnosis of traits and phenotypes.
•Can work with multiple “-omics” data: genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics (gene expression) and microbiomics.

Credits info

3 EC
Contact Hours: 45
Do you want to make the most out of your summer? You can combine this course with a course in session 2 to create a 4-week Summer School in Amsterdam.

Fee info

EUR 850: The tuition fee of a two-week course depends on your situation and ranges from €850-1150. This tuition fee includes:
- Two week course;
- Exclusive content for a limited number of students;
- Transcript of records with a maximum of 3 ECTS (European study credits);
- Certificate of attendance after completing the course;
- Individual/group guidance from professor;
- Interactive classes;
- Full support from the summer school team;
- For on-campus courses: airport pick-up and welcome activities.

Scholarships

VU Amsterdam Summer School offers three kinds of scholarships: the Academic Scholarship, the Photographer Scholarship and the Vlogger/Videographer Scholarship. More information can be found on the VU Amsterdam Summer School website.

Register for this course
on course website