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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. There is also a weekly recitation at which students lead discussion of assigned articles.

GNET_621_Flyer          GNET 621 Fall 2019 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 MCRO BIOC BIOL 631 Fall 2019 Syllabus

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 Spring 2020_Syllabus       GNET 632 flyer

 Genetics Modules

GNET 645 – Quantitative Genetics of Complex Traits

Marty Ferris
1 credit, Spring semester

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 2019 Syllabus          GNET 645 646 647 Spring 2020 Flier

GNET 646 – Mouse Models of Human Disease

Folami Ideraabdullah and Christoph Rau
1 credit, Spring semester

This is a lecture-styled module that will focus on the laboratory mouse as a model organism to learn fundamental genetic concepts while discussing how recently developed mouse models combined with state-of-the-art experimental approaches are being used to elucidate gene function relevant to human development, physiology, and disease. There will be an emphasis on understanding the impact of genetic, physiological, environmental, and microbial differences in developing appropriate mouse models for human disease. Lectures will cover approaches for both manipulating the mouse genome and for utilizing naturally occurring genetic variation among mouse strains to identify and characterize genes responsible for phenotypes. The latter portion of the class will cover the use of mouse models (either via genetic manipulation or through comparative analyses of strains) for studying the epigenetic basis of disease. A common theme of the course is to understand optimal approaches for using technology and resources (consortiums & databases) to develop and analyze mouse models for translational studies in pre-clinical settings.

GNET 646 Spring 2020 Syllabus             GNET 645 646 647 Spring 2020 Flier

GNET 647 – Human Genetics and Genomics

Karen Mohlke and Samir Kelada
1 credit, Spring semester

This module covers principles and modern approaches of human genetics and genomics, including human genetic variation, genome-wide association analysis, sequencing in monogenic and complex diseases, epigenomics, regulatory variation, gene-environment interactions, causality of variants, and clinical genetics.  Readings include landmark papers and the current literature and should be read before class to facilitate discussion in class and recitation.

GNET 647 Spring 2019 Syllabus            GNET 645 646 647 Spring 2020 Flier

GNET 760 – CRISPR-Based Genome Engineering

Hector Franco
1 credit, Spring semester

Precise genome engineering of living cells has been revolutionized by the introduction of the highly specific and easily programmable properties of the CRISPR-Cas technology. This has greatly accelerated research into human health, has facilitated the discovery of novel therapeutics, and has also been used as a clinical tool for gene therapy. However, the ability to alter the human genome in a permanent and inheritable way can lead to unintended (or sometimes intended) consequences that can profoundly change society. This graduate-level course is designed to teach students about the origins of CRISPR-Cas genome engineering technology, its applications to research and human health, and the ethical/societal considerations surrounding this powerful technology. Emphasis will be made on recent literature, new applications, discoveries and bioethics. As a prerequisite, students interested in taking this class must have taken an advanced Genetics or Molecular Biology course.

GNET 760 CRISPR Course Spring 2020 Syllabus        CRISPR Course Flyer

Computational Biology Modules

GNET 730 – Fundamentals of Quantitative Image Analysis for Light Microscopy

Jeremy Purvis and Katarzyna Kedziora
1 credit, Spring semester

This class is designed mostly for cell biologists starting a project that requires quantification of light microscopy images but we welcome everyone interested in the topic. You will learn how to use two popular open-source software packages – ImageJ (Fiji) and CellProfiler. We will especially focus on automating repetitive tasks in image analysis using both of them. We do not require any mathematical background or programming skills but we will write a few lines of code so you should not be scared of the idea.

BCB_GNET_730_2020_syllabus          BCB_GNET_730_2020_flyer

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

Hemant Kelkar and Jeremy Wang
1 credit, Spring semester

This class is designed to teach the fundamentals of UNIX operating system and Python programming using practical “hands-on” computer instruction.  This module will concentrate on applications of Python programming to biomedical data/analysis. Target audience is biomedical scientists who are interested in getting familiar with computer clusters for manipulating, parsing, analyzing biological text format data.

GNET 742 Spring 2020 Syllabus

GNET 747 – Development of New applications for Next Generation Sequencing

Piotr Mieczkowski
2 credits, Fall semester

This course is designed to shed light on the wide variety of tools available for developing new ideas for next-generation sequencing applications. Lecture and paper discussions.

GNET 747 Syllabus_Mieczkowski_Fall2021

GNET 749 – Practical RNASeq

Mauro Calabrese, Hemant Kelkar, and Joel Parker
2 credits, Spring semester

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.

GNET_PHCO 749_practical_RNAseq_syllabus_Spring 2019


 Seminar Courses

These courses count as the required journal club/seminar course. Additional courses outside of GNET can also count for this requirement, as long as they meet for the entire semester and count for 2 or more credit hours. These include (but are not limited to):


GNET/PATH 801 – Cell Cycle Regulation and Cancer

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.

Representative GNET_PATH 801 Syllabus_Fall 2021

GNET_PATH 801 flyer_2021

GNET/BIOL 625 – Seminar in Genetics

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

This is a journal club-style discussion course with a twist. We spend one or two weeks discussing articles from one lab that does research on meiosis, recombination, evolution of sex, or related topics. That P.I. then visits the class, either by teleconference or in person, to discuss another article. Visits begin with chatting about the person’s trajectory in science, how this project arose, what the publication process was like…or anything the students want to ask. This gives participants insight into a life in science. Visitors come from research I universities, primarily undergraduate colleges, private research institutions, and government laboratories in the US and abroad.


Additional courses that count toward the seminar/journal club requirement

BIOC 702 – Advanced Topics and Chromatin and Epigenetics

BIOL 639: Seminar in Plant Molecular & Cell Biology

BIOL 649: Seminar in Cell Biology

CBPH 850: Modern Concepts in Cell Biology

PATH 766 & 767: Current Topics in Cardiovascular Biology


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.