Our readers know that we hold professor Ken Weiss in very high regard and read updates on his blog everyday. Those interested in going beyond blog posts and learning about technical matters from him will get valuable opportunity to join a summer course he is offering with Drs. Joseph D. Terwilliger, Anne Buchanan, Markus Perola and Tero Hiekkalinna are offering a summer course. Joseph Terwilliger co-authored with him a Nature Genetics commentary (2000) titled - “How many diseases does it take to map a gene with SNPs?”
Here is a snippet about the course from his website.
This course is designed to examine the conceptual, empirical, and theoretical approaches to understanding the complex cause and effect relationships underlying human variation. Despite a century of quantitative research on evolutionary biology and genetics, our hypotheses about the phenogenetic (genotype + environment + culture -> phenotype) relationships underlying human variation seem poorly focused and often based on unnecessarily nave models. In this course we will review the basics of evolutionary biology, genetic epidemiology, gene mapping, and how to integrate these three disciplines to address questions of causality in human genetics.
It is hoped that through this course, students will develop critical thinking and logical reasoning skills to try and learn from what negative experimental results tell us about the architecture of disease and to question the assumptions underlying their experimental approaches to develop better study designs based on better hypotheses for future studies. The reason experiments are said to “fail” is usually because the question was poorly posed or the hypotheses being tested were incompletely thought out and justified, not because of technical or analytical errors. In fact, the results have been a major success in showing that the causal landscape is more complex than had been widely expected, but is in fact consistent with biological and evolutionary theory.