Biology & Life Sciences Medicine
This course will cover the basic concepts in neurogenetics; introduce the fields of genomics, transcriptomics, translatomics; classical and cutting-edge experimental approaches; and how integrative simulation can be used to derive biological meaning from genetics data and build bridges from genetics all the way to behaviour.

Course Details

Language English
Duration 9 weeks
Effort 4 hour/week

Modern neuroscience is multidisciplinary and collaborative. We need to integrate knowledge of experimental and theoretical approaches to neuroscience, and look at the brain and brain function from different perspectives: for example, genes can partially explain differences in reading ability, but there is no single gene that makes someone a good or a poor reader. And genes can be turned on and off by external factors such as someone’s diet or a virus infection. So to understand something as complex as reading ability, we need to stitch together knowledge about the role of genes, proteins, cells, and large networks of cells.

In this course on Genetics and Brain Development, we will focus on the principles of neurogenetics and brain development and we will introduce you to the fields of genomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics and their applications.

What you will learn

You will learn from top scientists, specialised in each field, and have access to research databases and learning resources such as brain atlases and brain modeling tools. We aim to show you how these new tools can help integrate the vast amounts of neuroscience data available to innovate medical technologies and therapies. And we will teach you how to use these tools for your own research and understanding.


This course is for anyone who has a basic understanding of cell biology and wants to learn about brain function from a broad biological perspective.



  • week 1: Basics of gene expression

  • week 2: Genetic variation, gene networks and epigenetic

  • week 3: Genome, epigenome and transcriptome

  • week 4: Overview of embryonic development

  • week 5: The birth of the nervous system

  • week 6: Methods and tools in genetics

  • week 7: Gene therapy in the nervous system

  • week 8: Introduction to big data

  • week 9: Introduction to modelling in neuroscience


Course instructors

Johannes Gräff

Johannes Gräff was born and raised in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, in St. Gallen. After high school, he moved across the language boarder to the French-speaking University of Lausanne, where he completed his undergraduate studies. During those…

Gioelle le Mano

Gioelle le Mano earned his PhD at Karolinska Instituet and is a proud alumnus of the Linnarsson Lab. His original training is in Biotechnology (BSc @UNIPA) and Biomedicine (MSc @KI) but nowadays he will turn around if somebody is calling out for a Molecul…

Liliane Tenenbaum

Liliane Tenenbaum is a Senior Lecturer and Group Leader in the Laboratoire de neurothérapies et neuromodulation at the University of Lausanne. Her research interests are Neuroprotective gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease and sensing and reducing brain i…

Sean Hill

Sean Lewis Hill is an American neuroscientist, Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, and inaugural Scientific Director of the Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics in Toronto, Canada. He is co-Director of the Blue Brain Project at the …

Elsa Pellet

After a master in life sciences at the EPF in Lausanne, Switzerland, I wanted to keep working in an interdisciplinary field, so I chose to do a Ph.D. (or, more exactly, a Dr. rer. nat.) in systems immunology. Working in two labs, one theoretical, the othe…

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