Summer 2019 - HSCI 775 G100

Seminar in Molecular Mechanisms of Epigenetics (3)

Class Number: 4958

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    BLU 9021, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Gratien Prefontaine
    1 778 782-8645
  • Prerequisites:

    MBB 331 or permission from the instructor.



Discussion of novel and advanced topics in chemical covalent modifications of chromatin that influence gene regulation.


This course is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of current advances in epigenetics and an appreciation of the experimental efforts and methodologies used to address the physical changes to chromatin that affect gene regulation.  Following a short summary of concepts and general principles, we will discuss current understanding of how covalent modifications of chromatin are placed, erased and readout by biological systems.  Readings will be selected to emphasize biological systems that are sensitive to chromatin modifications that affect health and behaviour and influenced by the environment.  


The main objectives of this course are to introduce students to current environmental human health concerns and the basic research used to address human health problems.  At the end of the course, students should be able to evaluate peer-reviewed publications for content and rigour, while being able to describe basic techniques used to study epigenetics using examples from the primary literature.  In addition, students should demonstrate an understanding of the conceptual design of the basic molecular and biochemical approaches used to investigate human health.  Students will learn how to critically review relevant literature and communicate these points by presenting their findings in an organized and scholarly fashion to their peers. Course Topics: 
Gene regulation
Chromatin modifications
Chromatin remodelling
DNA methylation
Enzymes that place and erase epigenetic marks
Cellular proteins that read and interpret epigenetic marks
Genes and environment/behaviour
DNA/chromatin structure
Epigenetics and heredity
Mammalian models
New technologies



40% student presentations, 30% take home papers, 10% class participation, 20% in class quizzes.  


HSCI475: MBB 331, or permission of the instructor; HSCI775: none.



Peer-reviewed articles from the current literature will be selected by the students and instructor and will be available online.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.