COGS178: Genes, Brains and Behavior (Spring 2017)

CSB 005

Course website:


Terry Jernigan (Professor)

Office Hours: Thursdays 2:15-3:15 in AP&M 5343

Course Description

This course will describe the evidence for an association between small common differences in our genomes and differences in our attributes, or phenotypes – focusing on brain and behavioral phenotypes.  The course is a quick tour through the rapid advances made in the methods available for asking questions about genotype to phenotype mapping, and how the results obtained with these different methods are changing the way we think about this mapping and ourselves.


See Documents for PDFs of readings and of class presentations

Course Details and Policies

See Documents for Grading Criteria

Course Schedule

Week Date Topic Readings Assignments Notes
1 Tue Apr 04 Course Intro & Pretest

Thu Apr 06

Tutorial: Basic Genetics


A Guide to Your Genome
DNA Genes and Genomes
What is DNA?

2 Tue Apr 11 Tutorial: Basic Genetics

Thu Apr 13

Twin Methods and Twin Studies of Height and Brain Phenotypes


Heritability of Height
Heritability of Brain

Prof. Kremen
3 Tue Apr 18 Twin Methods and Twin Studies of Behavior    Cortical Phenotypes
Episodic Memory

Prof. Panizzon
Thu Apr 20  Twin Methods and Twin Studies of Behavior Word Recognition
General Cognitive Ability

Prof. Kremen
4 Tue Apr 25 Candidate Gene Studies of Behavior DAT1 and ADHD
DAT1 and risk taking
DAT1 in meta-analysis

Thu Apr 27 Genome Wide Association Studies and the “curse of dimensionality”

5 Tue May 02 GWAS of Height and Brain Height GWAS
GWAS Brain Phenotypes
GWAS Occipital Scaling

Thu May 04 GWAS of Behavioral Phenotypes Genetics of general cognitive function
GWAS meta-analysis

6 Tue May 09

Missing Heritability

Genome scale neurogenetics

Thu May 11


7 Tue May 16 Genome Wide Complex Trait Analysis of Height and Brain GWCTA of Height (highlighted sections only)
GWCTA of Height Commentary

Dr. Andrew Schork
Thu May 18 GWCTA of behavioral phenotypes Gen Cog Function SNP heritability
Child Psychopathology SNP heritability

8 Tue May 23 Constructing and Patterning the Brain Construction of the Human Forebrain

Thu May 25

Discussion: Twin studies in the era of GWAS

9 Tue May 30 Discussion:  Gene-Environment Interactions and Correlations

Thu Jun 01 Discussion:  Precision Medicine:  All of Us

10 Tue Jun 06 Discussion & Posttest: Precision Education:  No Child Left Behind

Thu Jun 08 Discussion, Review for Final, Posttest Feedback, Course Evaluation