Epigenetics Boot Camp: Planning and Analyzing DNA Methylation Studies

Boot Camp 1: June 19-20, 2017 - CAPACITY REACHED

Boot Camp 2: August 21-22, 2017 - CAPACITY REACHED

A two-day intensive boot camp of seminars and hands-on analytical sessions to provide an overview of concepts, techniques, and data analysis methods utilized in human epigenetics studies.       

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boot camp overview

Epigenetics Boot Camp 1 (EBC1): June 19-20, 2017; 8:00-5:30pm

Epigenetics Boot Camp 2 (EBC2): August 21-22 2017; 8:00-5:30pm

This two-day intensive boot camp integrates the principle concepts of epigenetics and the effects of risk factors on the epigenome as we step through the key components of designing and executing DNA methylation studies. Led by a team of scientists with more than 31 years of combined expertise in the field of environmental epigenetics, the workshop will integrate seminar lectures with hands-on computer sessions to put concepts into practice. Emphasis will be given to leveraging existing resources from ongoing studies and initiating new investigations. The afternoon lab sessions will provide an opportunity to work hands-on with real methylation data generated by the Illumina Infinium MethylationEPIC (850k) BeadChip platform. Participants will learn and practice data handling, cleaning, and basic analysis of epigenome-wide DNA methylation data.

By the end of the workshop, participants will be familiar with the following topics:

  • Principles of epigenetics
  • Concept ideation and study design
  • Sample collection and processing
  • Laboratory methods and platforms for analysis
  • Data handling and cleaning
  • Data analysis
  • Study design advantages and pitfalls
  • Emerging epigenetic topics and laboratory platforms

Investigators at all career stages are welcome to attend, and we particularly encourage trainees and early-stage investigators to participate.

R and R studio tutorials

Basic familiarity with R and R studio (how to download R/R studio, and how to install a package) is recommended to get the most out of the Boot Camp. A personal laptop is not necessary for the Boot Camp as all computer sessions will take place in a computer lab. If you are a new R user or would like a refresher, you can visit these tutorials here before the Boot Camp to be well prepared.


The Epigenetics Boot Camp will take place on the Columbia University Medical Campus (CUMC) in New York City, with detailed information on the Getting Around page.


June Boot Camp: John Greally, DMed, PhD, Center for Epigenomics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. John Greally is a Professor of Genetics, Pediatrics and Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He received his honours degree in Medicine from the National University of Ireland in Galway (NUIG) in 1988, subsequently training in pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Clinical Genetics at Yale University. He received his PhD degree in 1999 and his DMed degree in 2016 from NUIG. He is the founding director of the Einstein Center for Epigenomics. His research is focused on the molecular mechanisms of human disease.

August Boot Camp: Chris Mason, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College.


Andrea Baccarelli, MD, MPH, PhD, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Kasey Brennan, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Andres Cardenas, PhD, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School

Elena Colicino, PhD, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Allan Just, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Jonathan Heiss, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (August Boot Camp only)

Cavin Ward-Caviness, PhD, Environmental Public Health Division, US Environmental Protection Agency (June Boot Camp only)

Learn more about each instructor here.


 Early-Bird Rate (EBC1 ends 4/30/17; EBC2 ends 6/2/17)  Regular Rate (EBC1: 5/1/17-6/9/17; EBC2: 6/3/17-8/11/17)
Student/Postdoc/Academic Staff      $950  $1,100
Faculty  $1,075    $1,295
Corporate   $1,200      $1,500



Registration fee includes course material, breakfast, lunch, and refreshment breaks. Information on lodging and transportation can be found here.

Cancellations: Cancellation notices must be received in writing by 1) May 31, 2017 for the June EBC1 and 2) August 11, 2017 for the August EBC2 to receive a full refund. Due to workshop capacity, we regret that we are unable to refund fees for cancellations after these dates. Please email your cancellation notice to Columbia.EBC@gmail.com.


This was a brilliant introduction to epigenetics, particularly, for me, in relation to environmental epidemiology. It alerted me to the challenges of sample collection and initial preparation in order for the results to be valid. The speakers were well-prepared and engaging and the material in terms of breadth and depth was exactly what I needed. I would highly recommend the training through the epigenetics workshop. - Dr. Robyn, from The Australian National University, reviewing the morning portion of the workshop held at the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology Conference in Rome, 2016.


Additional information

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Questions? Email the Boot Camp team here.

The Epigenetics Boot Camp is hosted by Columbia University's Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the Mailman School of Public Health with additional support from Illumina, Inc.