Erasmus Summer Programme Courses

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Genome-wide association studies [ESP74]

Course highlights

EC points


Start date

23 August 2021

End date

27 August 2021

Course days

Monday to Friday (5 full days)

Course time

From 8:45 till 16:00 CEST


Prof. Fernando Rivadeneira

Course fee

€ 988






Basic understanding of genetic epidemiology and statistics (regression analysis and maximum likelihood estimation).

See course description below for more information.


  • Genetic Epidemiology
  • Methodology
  • Advanced Statistics

Course Materials

Online, download instructions will be sent before the start of the course, by e-mail.

Laptop with MobaXterm installed. Server access will be provided. Before the course a troubleshoot session will be offered to participants facing difficulties to connect to the server.

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Detailed information about this course:


Faculty: Prof. Fernando Rivadeneira, MD PhD

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) constitute a powerful approach to investigate the genetic basis of complex traits and disorders. The course consists of virtual lectures providing a conceptual framework on crucial aspects of quality control, genotype imputation, methods to detect and correct for stratification, meta-analysis and genomic annotation of GWAS signals. An overview of the most frequently used statistical tools will be accompanied by instructive hands-on computer exercises on the principles of analysis of quantitative traits and disease outcomes. State of the art procedures for running GWAS will be taught, including: Quality Control / QC (PLINK2); GWAS analysis including mixed models (rvtests and SAGE); Meta-analysis QC (EasyQC); and GWAS Meta-analysis (METAL). Post-GWAS functional follow-up procedures will include downstream analysis (FINEMAP and FUMA). While theoretical background is provided on all topics, this is by definition a "hands-on" practical course, meaning you will spend most of the day performing genetic analyses. The course format will allow interactive break-out discussion sessions on theoretical and practical aspects of running GWAS, together with expert-advice procurement on diverse components of collaborative research within networks and consortia.

Participants of this course should be familiar running Linux commands and with running scripts and packages in R-programming language. These skills are taught in the NIHES courses: GE14 "Linux for Scientists" and GE03 "Genome-wide Association Studies"; and participants are encouraged to follow these courses in advance.

Note for participants of the 2021 NIHES GE03 edition! This year’s version of GE03 was still an advanced version, so content overlap with this ESP74 will be present. Please inquire before registering.

//Please note that the course information is subject to change and will be updated from time to time. We will do our utmost best to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information on this website.//


This course aims to train participants in the principles of GWAS, addressing aspects of study design, data analysis, extending to the interpretation and follow-up of results.

After completing the course, participants will be able to understand the principles of GWAS; perform genome-wide association analysis using state-of-the-art software tools; interpret GWAS results; and integrate them in a genomic context by means of web-based bioinformatics resources.

Participant profile

Clinical researchers, clinical epidemiologists, molecular biologists, bioinformaticians and biostatisticians aspiring to run analyses of genome-wide association studies.