Beat Christen: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2020

Name Dr. Beat Christen
FieldExperimental Systems Biology
Address
Professur für Exp. Systembiologie
ETH Zürich, HPM H24
Otto-Stern-Weg 3
8093 Zürich
SWITZERLAND
E-mailbeat.christen@imsb.biol.ethz.ch
DepartmentBiology
RelationshipAssistant Professor

NumberTitleECTSHoursLecturers
551-1298-00LGenetics, Genomics, Bioinformatics Information 4 credits2V + 2UE. Hafen, C. Beyer, B. Christen, U. K. Genick, J. Piel, R. Schlapbach, G. Schwank, S. Sunagawa, K. Weis, A. Wutz
AbstractThe course provides the basis of modern genetics, genomics and bioinformatics. A special focus is placed on the use of these tools for the understanding of biological processes in bacteria, model organisms and humans. The unit uses the principle of blended learning consisting of self-study modules in Moodle, tasks and input lectures by experts from the department.
ObjectiveAt the end of this course you know the most important genetic tools in different organisms. You can use the essential methods in bioinformatics by using online tools. You know the advantages and disadvantages of various model organisms to understand biological processes. You know the various mutagenesis methods and other tools to disrupt gene function and can discuss their merits and drawbacks. You are aware of the difficulties in choosing a phenotype for selection in a mutagenesis experiment. Finally, you can describe how you would study a specific biological process by choosing a model organism and the appropriate genetic or genomic tools.
ContentThe appearance and function of an organism (phenotype) is determined by the interplay between its genome (genotype) and the environment: Genotype + environment = phenotype. Understanding these interactions to the point where we can ultimately predict the phenotype from knowledge of the genotype and environmental factors is one oft the great challenges of biology.

In the course Bio IA you learnt about the composition and function of the genome and how it is inherited. The goal of this course is that you learn how genetic, genomic and bioinformatics methods are used to understand biological processes (the connection between genotype and phenotype).

You will start by refreshing and deepening your knowledge of the basic principles of genetics and genomics in an interactive learning modules on the Moodle platform. This is followed by an introduction of the basic tools of bioinformatics and genomic analysis.

After you have mastered the basic principles you will learn how to study biological processes either by inactivating specific genes or by randomly mutagenizing the entire genome. You will be introduced to different model organisms (bacteria, yeast, Drosophila) and humans.

At the end of this first part of the course, you will test your knowledge by working with a group of fellow students to design your own genetic study.

Conventional genetic methods rely on the alteration of the function of single genes and on the observation of the effect on the organism (phenotype). Based on the observed phenotype one deduces the normal function of the gene. However, this is a strong simplification. Even if environmental factors are controlled, phenotypes are very rarely controlled by a single gene. It is therefore important to understand the influence of the entire genome in conjunction with environmental factors on a given phenotype (e.g. human disease). Modern methods in genomics now permit first approaches in this direction. Therefore, the focus of the second part of the unit is on genomics methods. You learn, how the influence of the entire genome on a specific phenotype is detected and what challenges are involved in the analysis and the interpretation of the results. We will examine these methods in model organisms and humans. You will also learn how the genome of cancer cells changes under the constant selection for these cells to survive and how this genome analysis provides new insights into diagnosis and therapy.

This course is based on active learning. Each week consists of a learning unit with clearly defined learning goals. In the first two hours you will learn the basics from texts, videos and questionnaires on the Moodle platform. In the third lecture an expert on the topic of the week (e.g. genetic screens in yeast) from the department will give an input lecture that builds on the basic knowledge that you acquired. In the fourth lecture you will discuss the tests and topics of the week with the expert. During the semester you will have access to assistants and lecturers via the Moodle online forum.
Lecture notesThe learning material and slides of the input lectures are available on Moodle. There you will also find further information (articles, links, videos).
LiteratureAll texts and references will be available on Moodle. To follow the most recent developments in this rapidly evolving field follow the following experts on Twitter:
@dgmacarthur
@EricTopol
und/oder @ehafen
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course builds on the course Bio IA, in particular on that course's content regarding genetics and genomics. The course is based on self-learning units on Moodle, input lectures by experts from D-BIOL and exercises.
551-1302-00LSynthetic Genomics Restricted registration - show details
Does not take place this semester.
Number of participants limited to 6.

The enrolment is done by the D-BIOL study administration.
6 credits7GB. Christen
AbstractLab course on experimental and computational approaches in synthetic microbiology. Participants work in small groups to address current questions in the field of synthetic genomics.
ObjectiveThe course covers high-throughput biology techniques and design approaches to engineer large-scale synthetic DNA constructs ranging form pathways to entire bacterial genomes. Training in experimental and computational work in a research laboratory.
ContentResearch project in synthetic biology. Learn basics of DNA part definition, sequence design, de novo DNA synthesis and assembly strategies used for synthetic genomics. Discuss recent advances and current limitations in the field.

Soft skills to be trained: scientific project planning, team-work, presentation and reporting.