Social Genomics

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Genetic Epidemiology (PHS 849) ǀ Instructor: Corinne Engelman

Title and Course Number: Genetic Epidemiology (PHS 849)
Departments: Population Health Sciences
Credits/Level: 3 credits
Instructor: Corinne Engelman

Summary: This course will provide an introduction to genetic epidemiology. Topics will include a general overview of genetics and Mendelian and complex inheritance, as well as various elements of study design, including participant ascertainment; phenotype definition; biologic sample selection; genotyping, sequencing, and quality control; measurement of covariates, and choice of analytic methods. We will briefly discuss some of the original study designs and then focus on current study designs for the remainder of the class. Additional emerging topics will be briefly touched upon. Students will complete short homework assignments to enforce concepts learned during lectures, discuss journal articles, and prepare a very short grant application for the mid-term project. In the final weeks of class, students will work together to analyze data from a real genetic study, prepare tables, interpret the findings, and present their project to their peers.

Syllabus Fall 2022

Offered Spring 2024

Nature and Nurture of Mental Illness (PSYCH 601) ǀ Instructor: James Li

Title and Course Number: Nature and Nurture of Mental Illness (PSYCH 601)
Department: Psychology
Credits/Level: 3 credits, undergraduate capstone
Instructor: James Li

Summary: The question of nature versus nurture has been debated for centuries and has often ignited heated debates and controversies. Today, the issue is no longer a question of nature versus nurture (nearly all experts agree that both are important) but has shifted to: how does nature interact with nurture? For instance, how do your genes affect the way you respond to stressful life events? If a disorder is highly heritable (e.g., schizophrenia), what can we do to prevent its course for happening? Answers to these questions will have profound implications on public policies and mental health treatments down the line. In this capstone course, you will learn about how genes and environments interact to make us who we are by following the journey of Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein, identical twins who were separated at birth and met for the first time as adults. Using their stories as backdrops, you will learn more about how genes and environment independently and interactive influence the development of major mental illnesses. You will be exposed to perspectives and methods from across disciplines, including philosophy, sociology, epidemiology, medicine, and psychology, to learn about how modern advances in genetics have led to a promising future for mental health, but one that is also fraught with ethical dilemmas and potentially perilous repercussions.

Policy, Privacy, and Personal Identity in the Postgenomics Era (PA 523) ǀ Instructor: Lauren Schmitz

Title and Course Number: Policy, Privacy, and Personal Identity in the Postgenomics Era (PA 523)
Department: La Follette School of Public Affairs
Credits/Level:  3 credits, Undergraduate Certificate in Public Policy
Instructor: Lauren Schmitz

Summary: Social genomics integrates theories and methods in the genomic, social, and population health sciences to answer questions relevant to public health and social well-being. Research topics in social genomics and their implications for social and public policy are covered in this course. Key concepts in human genetics, population genetics, and statistical genetics are introduced, as well as historical and contemporary policy debates surrounding scientific advances in genomics. Fundamental questions include social repercussions of genomics research, the rationale for government intervention, and how to approach policy analysis in an era where the genomic revolution is changing how we think about privacy and personal identity.

Syllabus Spring 2021

Public Health Genomics (PHS 636) ǀ Instructor: Corinne Engelman

Title and Course Number: Special Topics: Public Health Genomics (PHS 636)
Department: Population Health Sciences
Credits/Level: 1 credit
Instructor: Corinne Engelman

Summary: Provides an introduction to public health genomics through a review of fundamental principles of genetics, the use of genetic information in clinical and research settings, and its implications for disease management and prevention, and health promotion. Explores policies that guide public health and discusses current ethical, legal, and social implications of these policies.

Syllabus Spring 2022

Offered Spring 2024

Statistics in Human Genetics (BMI 826) ǀ Instructor: Qiongshi Lu

Title and Course Number: Statistics in Human Genetics (BMI 826)
Department: Biostatistics and Medical Informatics
Instructor: Qiongshi Lu

Offered Spring 2021