CB 399: Value of Model Organisms to Human Disease Studies

Value of Model Organisms to Human Disease Studies

Model organisms have made a significant contribution to our understanding of human gene function and mechanisms of disease. From yeast to vertebrates, model organisms are used to identify genetic causes of disease, understand cellular defects associated with disease, screen for potential drug treatments, and more. This nanocourse will introduce the concept of genetic models of human disease, summarize historical findings and strengths of standard genetic model organisms, and introduce modern implementations for disease-related studies. Lecturers will specifically address the power of fly and zebrafish systems for human disease-related studies, and present integrative online databases that facilitate mining of model organism data in ways that inform our understanding of human gene function and disease.

Class Assignments: Registered course participants will write a summary and specific aims (one page total) for a proposed project relevant to the course topic. This could include a proposal to develop and characterize a new genetic model of disease, use of an existing model in a genetic or drug screen, use a genetic model to prioritize candidates from a genome-wide association study, or use data from genetic model systems to develop a new hypothesis related to human disease–gene function. The student should provide a justification for the specific model system chosen, describe the design of the experiments, discuss what genetic and/or bioinformatics tools would be used, and discuss how results would be analyzed. Students will share their summary and specific aims pages with other course participants before the second session, and the assignments will be reviewed and critiqued as a group.

Course Directors: Stephanie Mohr and Norbert Perrimon
Course Instructors: Stephanie Mohr, Stephanie_mohr@hms.harvard.edu, Nobert Perrimon, perrimon@genetics.med.harvard.edu and Leonard Zon, zon@enders.tch.harvard.edu
Curriculum Fellow: Rachel Wright, rachel_wright@hms.harvard.edu
Session Time and Dates
First Session: February 8th, 2018 ; 2:00 - 5:00pm
First Session Location: Armenise 125 Amphitheater
Second Session: February 13, 2018 ; 3;00 - 6:00pm
Second Session Location: TMEC 448