Skip to main content

Epigenetics: Foundations

Técnico Lisboa
Enrollment is Closed

General description

This course takes you on a journey into the biological realms of human health from the stance point of epigenetics, what lies beyond genetics. We will cover foundational concepts on human biology and, from there, explore the major epigenetic mechanisms in our cells, understanding their link to disease.

Upon concluding this first course, you will be more confident to read scientific literature in this field.

This course is the first part of a three part series. Once completed, you will be prepared to take two advanced courses on epigenetics:
  • "Epigenetics of Human Health" where we meet innovative molecular therapeutics and recent epigenetic breakthroughs;
  • "Hands-on Epigenetics" where we cover the foundations of multi-omic data analysis to enter the worldwide research on epigenetics.

Target audience

This course is intended for researchers, undergraduate students, graduate students, and general public interested on exploring the epigenetics of human health.

We suggest you this course if:
  • you are interested in acquiring an elementary perspective on human epigenetics
  • you are a (graduate or undergraduate) student or practicioner in the domain of life sciences with medium-to-strong background on biology, yet you want to consolidate your knowledge from a new angle - the epigenetics stance
  • you are interested in entering the fields of bioinformatics and computational biology, yet your core background is computer sicence, physics or mathematics
If you are a professor and would like to use this MOOC as a part of your course please contact us.

On the foundations of human health:

  • master the essentials of cell behavior and coordination with other cells
  • understand the role of our human genome and its link with disease
  • acquire a structured view on the regulatory mechanisms of the cell
  • contrast the genetic and epigenetic stances on human health and disease
  • be familiar with the molecular fingreprint of cells (including their genome, transcriptome, proteome and metabolome)
  • autonomously establish hypotheses on the biological mechanisms driving disease

On the epigenetic mechanisms:

  • understand the role of epigenetic markers and how they vary within our body and amongst us
  • master the major epigenetic mechanisms of our cells, including DNA methylation, histone modifications and RNA-mediated regulation
  • understand the interplay between the previous epigenetic mechanisms and their link with disease
  • glimpse view on epigenetic-driven breakthroughs to study human disorders


  • Basic background on biology is suggested yet not required. We will guide you through the necessary foundational concepts on human biology covered in the course.


Topic 1

  • genetic and epigenetic stances on human health and disease
  • essentials of cell behavior and coordination with other cells
  • the human genome, its mutation profile and link with disease
  • the role of proteins and ncRNAs on human health
  • genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic markers of disease

Topic 2

  • epigenetic markers and human health
  • major epigenetic mechanisms: DNA methylation, histone modifications and RNA-mediated regulation
  • the interplay between epigenetic mechanisms
  • the epigenetic code and its link with disease, including oncological and neurodegenerative disorders

Pedagogical strategies

The topics are distributed along 4 weeks.
The course is designed to take you on an animated journey, where your role is to relax while new video contents are reveald.
The informal discourse, analogies, strong imagetic and consolidation moments are provided to guarantee an accelerated learning.
Each topic further offers written support material and exercises to support your experience.

Questions and feedback via email.
Directly contact your host, Rui Henriques,

Assessment methods

There are two mid-term quizzes that need to be answered to allow progress. A certificate will be issued to students getting, at least, 60% of the quizzes correct.


Rui Henriques

Rui Henriques

Rui is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico, where he lectures courses in the domains of Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Biomedical Informatics.

Graduated (2008) and doctorate (2016) by Instituto Superior Técnico, Rui had also a wide-exposure to projects in the healthcare sector as a business analyst at McKinsey and as the head of the AI area at Tekever.

Rui is an associate researcher at INESC-ID since 2018, where he researches on how to learn from structured, high-dimensional, heterogeneous and spatiotemporal data. His research contributions address real-worlds problems in the biomedical and urban domains.

Creative Commons License

The following course and its contents are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


This MOOC is partially supported by EIT Health. Our gratitude.

EIT Health
  1. Course Number

  2. Classes Start

  3. Classes End

  4. Estimated Effort

    5 hours per week