BIOL 456/656: Molecular Basis of Epigenetics

FALL 2015

9:00-9:50 am

There is a pre-req (Biol 315), but please email me if you haven't taken 315 and are still interested.

Dr. Miura will be teaching Biol 456/656: Molecular Basis of Epigenetics in fall 2015.


BIOL 456/656  Molecular Basis of Epigenetics

Mechanisms and biological consequences of gene regulatory events in metazoans from a whole-genome perspective; special focus on regulation by non-coding RNAs (e.g. microRNA, lncRNA).



The sequencing of genomes from diverse species has revealed that organism complexity does not scale with genome size or the number of genes. Regulation of gene expression is thus likely to underlie differences in complexity among organisms and the accompanying diversity in differentiated cell types. One of the great surprises of modern molecular biology is the seemingly endless mechanisms that can control the flow of regulatory information between DNA and protein.

“Molecular Basis of Epigenetics” will investigate recent advances in our understanding of epigenetic regulation by DNA methylation and histone modifications, and will also explore additional modifiers of gene expression including RNA processing, transcriptional and post-transcriptional events. A special focus will be placed on mechanisms and biological consequences of regulation by non-coding RNAs (e.g. microRNAs and lncRNAs).

Students will be introduced to modern experimental approaches that utilize high-throughput sequencing technologies to understand gene regulation. Implications of basic research findings in gene regulation for the understanding and treatment of neuromuscular and neurodegenerative disease will also be discussed.




There will be no required textbook. Readings will be from the current literature. Students will be trained to read, analyze and criticize scientific papers.

Class format:

A mixture of lectures, in-class group work and student presentations.   


Assessment will involve take-home assignments, a class presentation, midterm and final exams. 


For questions regarding the course, please contact Dr. Pedro Miura.