Introduction to Genetics and Epigenetics: We are not just our DNA!

Course Description

In this course, you will learn a different way of thinking about gene regulation beyond basic mendelian genetics. Otherwise, if we all have the same genetic content, how is it that our cells differentiate and perform different functions? The epigenome is a dynamic layer of information that is associated with the genetic materials (not limited only to DNA), and consequently generates observed genetic diversity. Even though we will revisit the fundamentals of basic genetics, this course will mainly focus on epigenetic mechanisms and regulation. We will develop a general understanding of epigenetics and its role in various facets of biology, from general cell regulation to disease types.

The format of this class will be centered around, but not limited to, 1) lectures and 2) open discussion. We will use different teaching resources, from case studies (like the NASA twin study), videos and we will even build a molecular model with paper! We will have a field trip to a laboratory where you will be able to engage with scientists at different career levels, from undergraduate to professor. We will also have a sneak peek at how researchers use knowledge of epigenetics to improve our understanding of biology by having stellar guest speakers working on the latest cutting-edge research in epigenetics.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:
• Understand the genetic mechanisms in health ad disease
• Understand basic epigenetics and the molecular machinery involved
• Identify factors from your environment such as diet, physical activity, and stress influence the epigenome
• Identify examples of epigenetic misregulation in disease
• Learn about the use of epigenetics in biomedical research

This course will expose you to the fascinating world of gene regulation and how it influences life in a way they may not have heard before. After this course, you will have the foundation for an introductory molecular biology course and it may serve as an inspiration to pursue a career in research.


No specific prior knowledge is required, everyone is welcome! This will be a dynamic course where we will be actively assessing the pre-existing knowledge to tailor the lessons to ensure inclusivity. Just bring an open mind and prepare to be surprised by the latest cutting-edge research!


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: July 11, 2022 - July 22, 2022
Duration: 2 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 12:15P-3:05P
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Margot Martinez Moreno
Course Number: 10377