About this Course
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Approx. 30 hours to complete

Suggested: 7 weeks of study, 6-8 hours/week...


Subtitles: English, Spanish

Skills you will gain

CancerMolecular BiologyCancer EpigeneticsDna Methylation

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Approx. 30 hours to complete

Suggested: 7 weeks of study, 6-8 hours/week...


Subtitles: English, Spanish

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

2 hours to complete

Week 1 - Introduction to Epigenetic Control

An introduction to and definition of epigenetic control of gene expression, and its importance in normal development. We will learn what chromatin is, and how its composition and packaging can alter gene expression. We’ll also discuss the best-characterised epigenetic modification, DNA methylation, and how it is not only implicated in regulating gene expression, but also in maintaining genome stability.

7 videos (Total 65 min), 5 readings, 1 quiz
7 videos
1.1 Introduction to the concepts of epigenetic control10m
1.2 Mitotic heritability of epigenetic marks10m
1.3 Chromatin and the nucleosome6m
1.4 Chromatin compaction - heterochromatin versus euchromatin9m
1.5 DNA methylation at CpG islands11m
1.6 DNA methylation at intergenic regions and repetitive elements15m
5 readings
Course syllabus10m
Teaching team10m
Start of course survey10m
Assessment and grading policy10m
Week 1 and 2 resources10m
1 practice exercise
Week 1 quiz - contributes 8% towards your final grade20m
2 hours to complete

Week 2 - Epigenetic Modifications and Organisation of the Nucleus

We’ll discuss the molecular mechanisms for regulating gene expression in some detail, from how the DNA is packaged at a local level, right up to how the chromatin is positioned within the nucleus. We’ll learn about the chromatin modifications implicated in gene silencing and activation, the role of non-coding RNA, and higher order chromatin structures. This week will provide you with a good understanding of the basic mechanisms that will help you understand the processes we discuss throughout the rest of the course.

9 videos (Total 90 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
9 videos
2.2 Histone acetylation and histone methylation12m
2.3 Chromatin remodelling12m
2.4 Histone variants8m
2.5 Noncoding RNAs - microRNAs6m
2.6 Noncoding RNAs - piRNAs9m
2.7 Noncoding RNAs - long noncoding RNAs introduction10m
2.8 Long noncoding RNAs Xist and HOTAIR7m
2.9 3D organisation of the nucleus and summary of epigenetic marks17m
1 reading
Week 1 and 2 resources10m
1 practice exercise
Week 2 quiz - contributes 8% towards your final grade20m
3 hours to complete

Week 3 - Dosage Compensation

X chromosome inactivation is a really well-characterised epigenetic process that is now used as a model system to study epigenetic processes that are relevant more broadly. This is because it uses many epigenetic mechanisms, at many levels, to achieve really stable silencing of a whole chromosome. We’ll learn about this process and how it occurs in a mouse in great detail, which will greatly add to the mechanistic understanding gained in week two. We will then briefly discuss alternate mechanisms for dosage compensation that occur in other organisms.

12 videos (Total 113 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
12 videos
3.2 Timing of random and imprinted X chromosome inactivation8m
3.3 Stages of X inactivation - counting and control of Xist expression13m
3.4 Control of Xist expression by pluripotency factors6m
3.5 Stages of X inactivation - choice of which X to inactivate9m
3.6 Stages of X inactivation - initiation and spreading of silencing11m
3.7 Stages of X inactivation - establishment of silencing6m
3.8 Stages of X inactivation - maintenance of silencing e.g. Dnmt18m
3.9 Stages of X inactivation - maintenance of silencing e.g. Smchd18m
3.10 X chromosome inactivation summary10m
3.11 Dosage compensation in flies and worms, compared with mammals8m
3.12 Lessons from the fly - position effect variegation and screening for epigenetic modifiers10m
1 reading
Week 3 resources (including required readings)10m
1 practice exercise
Week 3 quiz - contributes 12% towards your final grade30m
2 hours to complete

Week 4 - Genomic Imprinting and Epigenetic Reprogramming

We’ll learn about the two important periods during development for the erasure and resetting of the epigenome. There are two well-characterised features that are treated differently during epigenetic reprogramming; imprinted genes and repeats. We’ll learn about mechanisms for genomic imprinting, and study three examples in more depth.

6 videos (Total 68 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
6 videos
4.2 Epigenetic reprogramming of imprinted genes and repetitive elements11m
4.3 Location of imprinted genes in the genome and bisulfite sequencing10m
4.4 Kcnq1 and H19/Igf2 ICR mechanisms of action and Beckwith Weidemann syndrome17m
4.5 Snrpn ICR mechanism, Prader Willi and Angelman syndromes13m
4.6 Summary of epigenetic reprogramming and imprinting6m
1 reading
Week 4 resources (including required reading)10m
1 practice exercise
Week 4 quiz - contributes 12% towards your final grade30m
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Top reviews from Epigenetic Control of Gene Expression

By MMOct 2nd 2018

This was an excellent course. All the material was well presented and the explanation of the sometimes complex subject matter was clear and understandable. Thank you for an great learning experience.

By DSAug 25th 2018

This is an excellent course that introduces you to fundamental knowledge of several hot topics in the field of epigenetics. Dr. Blewitt herself studies X inactivation, and I learned so much!



Dr. Marnie Blewitt

Head, Molecular Medicine Laboratory
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

About The University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne is an internationally recognised research intensive University with a strong tradition of excellence in teaching, research, and community engagement. Established in 1853, it is Australia's second oldest University....

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