Teaching plan for the course unit



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General information


Course unit name: Epigenetics and Cellular Memory

Course unit code: 568762

Academic year: 2021-2022

Coordinator: Montserrat Corominas Guiu

Department: Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics

Credits: 2,5

Single program: S



Estimated learning time

Total number of hours 62.5


Face-to-face and/or online activities



-  Lecture





-  Seminar




Supervised project


Independent learning




Competences to be gained during study


Basic competences

— Knowledge forming the basis of original thinking in the development or application of ideas, typically in a research context.

— Capacity to apply the acquired knowledge to problem-solving in new or relatively unknown environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to the field of study.

— Capacity to integrate knowledge and tackle the complexity of formulating judgments based on incomplete or limited information, taking due consideration of the social and ethical responsibilities involved in applying knowledge and making judgments.

— Capacity to communicate conclusions, judgments and the grounds on which they have been reached to specialist and non-specialist audiences in a clear and unambiguous manner.

— Skills to enable lifelong self-directed and independent learning.


General competences

— Capacity to structure a reasoned discourse in a logical and rational manner, to discuss any scientific topic in front of diverse audiences.

— Capacity for critical, logical and creative thought. Capacity for analysis and synthesis.

— Capacity for interaction and transfer activities with their environment.

— Capacity to work in groups and to collaborate with other researchers.

— Capacity to read and critically interpret scientific publications related to the subject, mainly in English, and to be able to design, write and defend a research project.


Specific competences

— Ability to correctly choose between the various basic techniques of cellular and genetic analysis in order to analyse the structure, regulation, function and evolution of genes and genomes.

— Ability to analyse the impact on cell function of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that control cellular memory.

— Ability to analyse the human genome as a model from which to infer gene structure, function and regulation.





Learning objectives


Referring to knowledge

Modification and reorganization of chromatin play a critical role in coordinating the cell-type specific gene expression programs that are required as a cell transitions from a pluripotent stem cell to a fully differentiated cell type. Epigenetics refers to heritable changes that occur in chromatin without altering the primary DNA sequence.

The main aims of this course are:

  • Understand the historical and contemporary meaning of the epigenetic concept and how changes in the phenotype can occur without changes in the genotype
  • Understand the concept of cellular memory
  • Discuss the various mechanisms of epigenetic regulation, including DNA methylation and post-translational modification of histones, and the roles of chromatin-assembly modifying complexes, non-coding RNAs and nuclear organization



Teaching blocks


1. Epigenetics and cellular memory

*  Introduction to cellular memory

Chromatin structure

DNA methylation and histone modifications

Histone variants

Polycomb and Trithorax group proteins

Non coding RNAs: microRNAs and lncRNAs



Teaching methods and general organization


Face-to-face education

It consists of theoretical classes and seminars. The student has access to the material used in these classes through the Virtual Campus of the UB. It also includes lectures given by invited professors in different aspects of genetics and functional genomics.

Active participation is not only encouraged but also requested. 

Independent learning activities

Consists of reading the recommended articles. This activity must be reflected in the active participation in class and research seminars.
Students may consult the professor about doubts or problems they have with regard to the subject, both in person during office hours and by e-mail.



Official assessment of learning outcomes


Evaluation criteria:

Written exam based on a research article and/or on the information provided during the theoretical classes and seminars.

On line homework assignment (brief summary of a seminar that students must choose and work in advance) and active participation during seminar and discussion sessions.

To pass the subject, students must attend at least 80% of the classes.



Reading and study resources

Consulteu la disponibilitat a CERCABIB


Epigenetics by C.D. Allis, T. Jenuwein, D. Reinberg; M.L. Caparros (associate editor). 2nd ed. Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. : Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2015  Enllaç

EPIGENOMICS by A.C. Ferguson-Smith, J.M. Greally, Martienssen, R.A. Editors.         Springer 2009; ISBN: 978-1-4020-9186-5