Core Courses

GNET 621 – Principles of Genetic Analysis

Jeff Sekelsky, Greg Copenhaver, Shawn Ahmed
3 credits, Fall semester

Intended to provide an intensive introduction to modern genetic analysis based on classical and contemporary paradigms, drawing on examples from a wide range of model organisms. There are two lectures per week; the material covered in lectures is reinforced through problem sets and readings of research and review articles.

GNET_621_Flyer              GNET_621_2013_syllabus

GNET 631 – Advanced Molecular Biology I

Jack Griffith, Dale Ramsden, Aziz Sancar
3 credits, Fall semester

This course focuses on DNA, the molecule most fundamental to life: organization of DNA into genomes, genome replication, recombination, repair, and cellular responses to DNA damage.

GNET 631 flyer

GNET 632 – Advanced Molecular Biology II

Albert Baldwin, Brian Strahl, William Marzluff
3 credits, Spring semester

The purpose of this course is to provide historical, basic and current information about the flow and regulation of genetic information from DNA to RNA in a variety of biological systems.  Topics include  mechanisms of gene regulation, transcription, histone modifications, protein translation and transport, and RNA structure, function, processing, and transport.

GNET 632 flyer

 Genetics Modules

GNET 645 – Quantitative Genetics of Complex Traits

Daniel Pomp
1 credit, Spring semester, 1st module period

In this course, students will learn about various topics that form the basis for understanding Quantitative Genetics of Complex Traits with biomedical and agricultural relevance. The ultimate goal of quantitative genetics in this post-genomic era is prediction of phenotype from genotype, namely deducing the molecular basis for genetic trait variation.

GNET 645 Spring 2013 syllabus              Spring 2014 flyer for GNET 645, 646, 647

GNET 646 – Principles and Experimental Approaches of Mammalian Genetics

Folami Ideraabdullah and Scott Bultman
1 credit, Spring semester, 3rd module period

This course will focus on the laboratory mouse as a model organism to learn fundamental genetic concepts and understand how state-of-the-art experimental approaches are being used to elucidate gene function and the genetic architecture of biological traits.  For Mendelian trait, there will be an emphasis on the importance of genetic screens and gene-targeting technologies to create allelic series. For quantitative genetics, there will be an emphasis on the genetic diversity of mouse strains and how this can be exploited to identify the molecular basis of complex traits. A common theme linking the Mendelian and quantitative parts of the course will be the development and analysis of mouse models of human disease for understanding basic mechanisms and for initiating translational studies in the pre-clinical setting.

GNET 646 Spring 2013 syllabus               Spring 2014 flyer for GNET 645, 646, 647

GNET 647 – Human Genetics and Genomics

Karen Mohlke and Samir Kelada
1 credit, Spring semester, 2nd module period

The course covers principles and modern approaches of human genetics and genomics, including human genetic variation, linkage, genome-wide association analysis, sequencing for variant discovery in monogenic and complex diseases, regulatory variation, the molecular basis of human disease, and functional validation of disease variants.

GNET_647_Spring_2014 syllabus             Spring 2014 flyer for GNET 645, 646, 647

BCB 722 – Foundations of Population Genomics

Praveen Sethupathy
1 credit,Fall semester

This course will cover the fundamental principles of population genomics. We will address such questions as: How frequently do mutations arise? What are the evolutionary forces that have shaped the genetic diversity we see today? Can we distinguish one such force from another? Can we estimate their relative strengths? Is any of this relevant for studying the role of genetics in complex disease? The goal of the course is to equip students with foundational knowledge in the theory of evolution, which serves as the bedrock of modern biology.

Cross-listing as GNET 722 is in progress.


Computational Biology Modules

GNET 742 – Introduction to Unix and Perl programming for biomedical researchers

Hemant Kelkar and Joel Parker
1 credit, Spring semester, 1st module period

During the first week students will get a “hands-on” introduction to Unix. We will start by learning basic Unix operating system commands followed by file system and directory management. Students will then get an introduction to a high-performance computing cluster and the job scheduling software that is used for job submission using examples of bioinformatics applications. This course introduces basic programming concepts through example using the programming language Perl. Upon completion, participants should have the ability to write basic programs that are needed to analyze data from high throughput experiments. Lectures will cover basic data structures, reading and writing files, program control, and regular expressions.  Throughout the lectures, participants will work through examples focused on typical problems in biological research.

GNET 742 Spring 2013 syllabus

GNET 743 – Introduction to data analysis and statistics with R

Ethan Lange and Leslie Lange
1 credit, Spring semester, 2nd module period

This course will introduce the data analysis environment “R” and use it to illustrate basic concepts in data manipulation, plotting of complex data, and basic statistical modeling. The R software is free, runs on all platforms, and has become increasingly popular in the scientific community. In particular, it has become the tool for choice for many statistical protocols for analyzing biological (eg, microarray) data. The course will start by familiarizing users with the basics of the R language, and how to use it for sorting, filtering and visualizing data. The course will in stages introduce the concept of a linear statistical model, which underpins such popular techniques as ANOVA, ANCOVA, logistic regression, t-tests, among others. Students will learn how to use such models to perform statistical tests, obtain statistical estimates of effects (eg, the effect of a SNP on lipid levels in a genome-wide association study), and gain an understanding of how such models can be designed to control for batch or other covariate effects. Class examples will be general, and will aim to build familiarity and confidence with R and data analysis. Weekly homeworks will reinforce ideas taught in class, and will typically involve applying those ideas to real (or realistic) biological data.

GNET 743 Spring 2013 syllabus


Mauro Calabrese, Hemant Kelkar, and Joel Parker
2 credits, Spring semester, 3rd module period

This graduate-level course is designed to familiarize students with everything needed to run one complete RNA-Seq experiment, including the concepts behind experimental design, how to prepare samples, running them on a NextSeq 500, and analyzing data. There will be minimal emphasis on theory and heavy focus on practical aspects. There are no formal prerequisites required for this course and no prior experience with UNIX or the command line interface is expected.


 Seminar Courses

These courses count as the required journal club/seminar course. Additional courses outside of GNET can also count for this requirement. These include (but are not limited to):

BIOL 639: Seminar in Plant Molecular & Cell Biology

BIOL 649: Seminar in Cell Biology

CBIO 893 & 894: Advanced Cell Biology

PATH 766 & 767: Current Topics in Cardiovascular Biology

GNET/PATH 801 – Cell cycle regulation and cancer (Seminar)

Cyrus Vaziri
3 credits, Fall semester

This discussion course will focus on molecular events that regulate normal cell cycle progression, and on how deregulation of the cell cycle leads to cancer. This course will follow the development of the cell cycle field chronologically, illustrating how current concepts and paradigms have evolved as a result of scientific inquiry. This will be a perfect starting point for students that would like to know more about the cell cycle as it pertains to cancer, but have no prior knowledge of this field.

GNET/PATH 801 course flyer

GNET/BIOL 625 – Seminar in Genetics

Greg Copenhaver, Corbin Jones, Jeff Sekelsky
2 credits, Spring semester

This journal club-style discussion course focuses on meiosis, recombination, and the evolution of sex.  Topics change from year to year.  Typically, the format is to discuss in depth 1-2 published research articles each week.  Discussions and designed to promote critical analysis of the papers.

NUTR/GNET 865 – Nutrigenomics: Understanding gene x diet interactions

Brian Bennett
2 credits, Spring semester

This course focuses on nutrigenomics, the effect of diet on gene expression, and nutrigenetics, how genetic differences affect nutrient uptake and metabolism.  It combines instructor and student led presentations focused on how diet and underlying genetics interact to affect molecular phenotypes and ultimately susceptibility to disease.  Weekly readings are assigned to all students and students will present 1-2 times on specific topics.

Special Courses for GMB Students


GNET 701 – Genetics Seminar series

Jeff Sekelsky
1 credit, Fall and Spring semesters

Diverse but current topics in all aspects of genetics. Relates new techniques and current research of notables in the field of genetics. Content focuses on presentations by invited, non-UNC faculty and varies from week to week

GNET 702/703 – Student Seminars

Jeff Sekelsky
1 credit, Fall and Spring semesters

A course to provide public lecture experience to advanced genetics students. Students present personal research seminars based on their individual dissertation projects. Lectures are privately critiqued by fellow students and genetics faculty. New schedule is arranged every year.

GNET 850 – Training in Genetic Teaching

Jeff Sekelsky
3 credits, Fall and Spring semesters

Students are responsible for assistance in teaching genetics and work under the supervision of the individual faculty instructors of various courses, with whom they have regular discussion of methods, content and evaluation of performance. Opportunities exist to teach both undergraduate and graduate level courses.