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Adaptive Epigenomics

"Building a bridge between animal and human research."

The course will be taught by an international team of top researchers in the fields of evolutionary biology, clinical psychology and epigenetic research.

A joint workshop combining the fields of clinical psychology and evolutionary biology, we will demonstrate how epigentic studies can be used to build a bridge between human and animal research. Invited international speakers will provide insight into their latest research findings and future directions in the field. In addition, hands-on exercises will provide training in the preparation and analysis of epigenetic data.

24. + 25. July 2017 (Pirmin Hall, Hotel St. Elisabeth, Hegne)

Links: Adaptive Epigenomics Webseite

JULY 24th 2017 - LECTURES

Introduction: What is epigenetics and what can we learn from it?

Dr. Tuncay Baubec (University of Zurich, Switzerland)

Dr. Baubec is an SNF Professor in the Department of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease at the University of Zurich. His research interests include principles and design of epigenetic gene regulatory circuits and the function and regulation of genome-wide DNA methylation patterns.

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Epigenetic reprogramming of the human genome following violent experiences: Adaptation or maladaptation to a violent environment?

Dr. Thomas Elbert (University of Konstanz, Germany)

Thomas Elbert studied Psychology, Mathematics and Physics at the universities of Munich and Tübingen (PhD, 1978). He is currently Professor of Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology at the University of Konstanz, Germany. He is also a member of the International Neuropsychological Symposium, the German Academy of Science and president of the Italian branch of vivo (www.vivo.org). His more than 400 publications include methodological studies (e.g., applications of nonlinear systems theory to biological systems), investigations on the self-regulation of the brain, and on cortical organization, plasticity and their relation to behaviour and psychopathology. Based on progress in understanding the mechanisms of neuroplasticity, new treatment approaches for aphasia, tinnitus and focal dystonia have been developed in the Konstanz laboratory. Clinical psychological research has focused on the consequences of traumatic stress. Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET), a culturally universal short-term intervention for the reduction of traumatic stress symptoms in survivors of organized violence, torture, war, rape, and childhood abuse was developed in collaboration with Dres. Frank Neuner and Maggie Schauer. This treatment has been field-tested in crisis regions in Africa and Asia. Associate Editorships (past and present) include Psychophysiology, J. Psychophysiology, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical engineering, BMC Neuroscience, BMC Psychiatry, Open Neuroscience, Scitizen and others.

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Epigenetics of human memory: In health and disease

Dr. Vanja Vukojevic (University of Basel, Switzerland)

Dr. Vukojevic is a postdoc in the Department of Molecular Neurosciences at the University of Basel. His research focuses on epigenetic modifications associated with human memory performance and the development of memory-related mental disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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Animal models of epigenomics

Dr. Chris Murgatroyd (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)

Dr. Murgatroyd is a lecturer on genetics at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research focus is gene-environment interactions and their effects on early-life aging. He also published The Power of the Gene, a book aimed at delivering concepts of human medical genetics to the general public.

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Methodology of epigenetic studies - MCN Experience

Dr. Vanja Vukojevic (University of Basel, Switzerland)

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JULY 25th 2017 - LECTURES

Behavioral and epigenetic adaption to chronic stress in fish

Dr. Amber Makowicz (University of Konstanz, Germany)

I am interested in Behavioral Epigenetics and how parental stress can be passed from parent to offspring via changes in DNA methylation and anxiety/boldness behaviors. Chronic stress has been related to major mental disorders through changes in the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis (HPA-axis; an important stress response found in all vertebrates) and is most notable through changes in DNA methylation. Both maternal and paternal stress has been shown to influence the DNA methylation of children and increase the likelihood of developing psychopathological disorders. To investigate both maternal and paternal effects of stress I am using Poeciliid fish. Poeciliid fish are excellent model specimens for several reasons: 1) they are small livebearing species, 2) short gestation period with numerous offspring in each brood, 3) it's easy to manipulate their environment, 4) they lack parental care (removing the constraint found in mammals), and 5) some species are matrotrophic (have a placenta-like structure that provides nutrition throughout pregnancy), while others are lecitotrophic (not reproductive investment beyond yoking the egg).

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An evolutionary perspective to human methylation

Dr. Tomàs Marqués-Bonet (University Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, Spain)

Dr. Marques-Bonet leads the research group on comparative genomics at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. His research focuses on the evolution of gene regulation in humans and human genetic variation in the context of great ape evolution.

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The role of ecology and evolution in shaping DNA methylation variation in non-human species

Dr. Bridgett vonHoldt (Princeton University, United States)

Dr. vonHoldt is a professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at Princeton University. Her research focuses on ecological epigenomics and evolutionary genomics in domesticated and wild canids.

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Approaches for the analysis of epigenetic data

Dr. Robert Philibert (University of Iowa, United States)

Dr. Philibert runs the Psychiatric Genetics lab at the University of Iowa. His primary research focus is to generate a translational understanding of substance use and to increase the effectiveness of substance use interventions.

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