GEN 800 Seminar Courses


Fall 2015


GEN 800 Section 001

(also listed as )

Course Title: Epigenetic Mechanisms of Animal Behavior

When: Wednesday, 1:30 - 2:45 PM **
Where: 1425 BPS

Course Coordinator(s): Dr.AJ Robison (

Course Description:

Traditionally defined as the study of the mechanisms of temporal and spatial control of gene activity during plant or animal development, the concept of EPIGENETICS is often interpreted more broadly, including regulation of gene expression in response to environmental stimuli and in various disease states. Epigenetics encompasses multiple (often cryptic) genetics-related phenomena and mechanisms including, but not limited to, imprinting, transgenerational effects, transcriptional memory, transposon-related phenomenon, chromatin modifications, DNA methylation, and small RNAs. Though epigenetics plays an important role in animal development, this seminar course gives students the opportunity to explore epigenetic mechanisms governing the behavior of adult animals. We will delve into primary literature and discuss the effects of environment and experiences on the expression of genes in various model organisms and the resulting changes in the behavior of those animals.

The class will be discussion-based and will review both seminal and novel primary literature driving the field.  Students will be expected to choose papers relevant to their individual research area and present these papers to the group in a journal club format.


*Meeting time subject to change depending on participant schedules.  Contact Dr. Robison if you are interested in the seminar but the proposed meeting time doesn't fit your schedule.

GEN 800 Section 002

(also listed as )

Course Title: Plant Epigenetics

Where: TBD

Course Coordinators: Dr. Steve van Nocker and Dr. Ning Jiang

Course Description:

Traditionally defined as the study of the temporal and spatial control of gene activity during development, the concept of EPIGENETICS is often interpreted more broadly, encompassing various phenomenon and mechanisms including imprinting, paramutation, transgenerational effects, transcriptional memory, transgene silencing, transposon dynamics, non-canonical gene expression, chromatin modifications, DNA methylation, small RNAs, histone code, etc. This seminar will explore the impact of epigenetic mechanisms on a variety of biological process and organisms, focusing on development, genetics, genomics and evolution in plants. It is expected that better familiarity with concepts in epigenetics and landmark publications will help students to pursue innovative and sensational approaches to her/his research.



GEN 800 Section 003

(also listed as Zol 890)

Course Title: Next Generation Sequencing Methods

Course Coordinators: Jason R. Gallant (

When: Monday, 2:00PM-3:00PM starting September 14th, 2015

Where: 1455A BPS (BEACON Seminar Room)

Course Description:

Next-generation sequencing technologies and associated bioinformatics tools are revolutionizing many fields of biological inquiry.  Because of the rapid nature of innovation in this field, a weekly reading group will be offered with the attempts to stay “up-to-date” on the latest developments, methodological approaches and study designs.  Participants from the faculty, postdoctoral and graduate levels will be encouraged to choose a topic to present, either from the literature or their own work.  Graduate student participants taking this course for credit will be required to present at least once during the semester, and will be required to write short but informative summaries of presentations each week for an online “digest” readable by members of the MSU community.