At the end of the course the student is expected to:
- possess in-depth knowledge and understanding of epigenetitic phenomena, of the mechanisms underlying epigenetic phenomena and defects associated with a deregulation of these;
- is able to apply the knowledge acquired in the biomedical field;
- has the ability to integrate the knowledge of genetics and epigenetics;
- know how to communicate clearly and unambiguously the knowledge and the rationale underlying them both to specialist and non-specialist interlocutors;
- know how to analyze critically and independently the controversial issues and the gaps in the knowledge of epigenetics.
Basic knowledge of Genetics and Molecular Biology.
The course will focus on the study of epigenetic phenomena and the consequences in the event of their deregulation. The molecular mechanisms underlying epigenetic phenomena will also be discussed.
Genetic concepts will be analyzed in order to make a comparison between genetic and epigenetic phenomena in particular in relation to the pathological consequences of mutations and epimutations.
Furthermore, some techniques used to identify genetic and epigenetic defects will be considered.
Epigenetics: definitions and fields of study
Chromatin and histone modifications
Genetic mutations and consequences versus epimutations and consequences
Techniques used for the identification of polymorphisms, mutations and epigenetic modifications
Epigenetic phenomena: - position effect,
- dosage compensation and X chromosome inactivation,
- genomic imprinting
Epigenetic diseases and their genetic/molecular basis
Epigenetic contribution in complex diseases
Epigenetic contribution in cancer
Epigenetic contribution to aging
Epigenetic and environmental influences
The Professor will provide some teaching material, including scientific articles in English.
Chapters of genetics texts:
“Genetica & Genomica nelle scienze mediche” – Strachan et al - Zanichelli.
“Genetica” – Binelli Ghisotti - EdiSES.
Professor will provide additional information during the course.
During the lessons the epigenetic phenomena, the underlying molecular mechanisms and the consequences of a deregulation of the epigenetic processes will be discussed, also highlighting the areas of uncertainty and knowledge gaps.
Genetic concepts will be resumed in order to make a comparison between genetic and epigenetic phenomena in particular in relation to the pathological consequences of mutations and epimutations.
Some methodologies used to study epigenetic phenomena will also be discussed.
Some scientific articles will be discussed in the classroom to stimulate the ability to frame and investigate scientific problems, to achieve communication skills and to stimulate independent judgment.
The final examination involves an oral examination aimed to verify the knowledge of epigenetic phenomena, the mechanisms underlying epigenetic phenomena and the defects associated with a deregulation of these. The ability to integrate the knowledge of genetics and epigenetics and the knowledge of the methodologies used for epigenetic studies will also be evaluated.
Problems will be posed to assess the ability to solve them, particularly in the biological or biomedical field, and to assess the student's independence of judgment.
The student will have to use an appropriate scientific language.