Chromatin, Epigenetics and Gene Expression (CANCELED)
July 21 - August 9, 2020
Application & Materials Deadline: April 1, 2020


Karen Adelman, Harvard Medical School
Aaron Johnson, University of Colorado School of Medicine
Marc Mendillo, Northwestern University School of Medicine


COVID-19: UPDATE April 7, 2020: It is with considerable regret that we announce the cancellation of this course for 2020 but it will be rescheduled to similar dates in 2021.


See the roll of honor - who's taken the course in the past.

The Chromatin, Epigenetics and Gene Expression course is designed for students, postdocs, and principal investigators who have recently ventured into the exciting area of gene regulation. Emphasis will be placed on exposing students to a broad array of methodologies to study gene regulation, chromatin structure and dynamics, including both state-of-the-art and well-developed methods.

Students will perform widely used techniques such as:

  • Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)
  • ChIP coupled with sequencing (ChIP-seq)
  • Reporter assays of enhancer activity
  • RNA expression analysis (RT-qPCR, Northern)
  • Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay (EMSA)

  • Students will also apply a basic pipeline to analyze their ChIP-seq results and will discuss current informatics strategies.

    Students will learn about state-of-the-art genetic perturbation strategies. They will perform two of these methods to reduce or eliminate the expression of a gene of interest: RNA interference (RNAi), and CRISPR-Cas9 targeted disruption. Further, students will compare how each method affects gene expression and function.

    Students will learn how to assemble recombinant chromatin with modified histones and test specificity of epigenetic “reader” proteins and enzymes that modify chromatin.  Quantitative methods will be used to analyze activity and selectivity for specific substrates.

    This course will also provide the basic concepts behind different methods to analyze the chromatin architecture of the genome. Moreover, we will discuss the computational methods required to analyze data concerning three-dimensional chromatin architecture.

    Experience with basic recombinant DNA and molecular biology techniques is a prerequisite for admission to this course. Lectures by the instructors will cover the current state of the gene expression and epigenetics fields, theoretical aspects of the methodology, and broader issues regarding strategies for investigating the regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes. Emphasis will be placed on advantages and limitations of specific techniques, and data interpretation. Each evening, an invited speaker who is an expert in the field will present their work and interact with students. The students are encouraged and expected to actively participate in these discussions, and to take advantage of the many opportunities to network and receive input on their projects and future plans.

    2020 Guest Speakers:

    Gerd Blobel, 
    Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
    Jason Buenrostro, Harvard University
    Elena Conti, Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Germany
    Yael David, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    Luciano Di Croce, ICREA and Centre for Genomic Regulation, Spain
    Sarah Hainer, University of Pittsburgh
    Tracy Johnson, University of California, Los Angeles
    Michael Levine, Princeton University
    Ross Levine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    Marc Marti-Renom, CNAG-CRG, Spain
    Jürg Müller, Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry 
    Eva Nogales, UC Berkeley
    Robert Roeder, The Rockefeller University 
    Ali Shilatifard, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
    Jane Skok, NYU School of Medicine
    Alexander Stark, Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Austria

    Support & Stipends

    Major support provided by: National Cancer Institute

    We would like to acknowledge the following companies that provided invaluable support::
    Bio-Rad Laboratories, GE Healthcare, Promega Life Sciences, QSonica, LLC, Thermo Fisher Scientific

    Stipends are available to offset tuition costs as follows:


    Please indicate your eligibility for funding in your stipend request submitted when you apply to the course. Stipend requests do not affect selection decisions made by the instructors. 

    Cost (including board and lodging): $5,140

    No fees are due until you have completed the full application process and are accepted into the course. Students accepted into the course should plan to arrive by early evening on July 20 and plan to depart after lunch on August 9.

    Before applying, ensure you have (all due April 1):
    1. Personal statement/essay;
    2. Letter(s) of recommendation;
    3. Curriculum vitae/resume (optional);
    4. Financial aid request (optional).
      More details.

    If you are not ready to fully apply but wish to express interest in applying, receive a reminder two weeks prior to the deadline, and tell us about your financial aid requirements, click below: