Logical Reasoning in Human Genetics 2015

Time: August 10-14, 2015.

Every day 9.30AM - 5:00PM. Friday we may end early

Place: University of Oulu (http://www.oulu.fi/yliopisto), Kontinkangas campus, Room H108, Oulu, Finland.

Map: Kontinkangas_map_H108.pdf

Registration deadline is 31st of July, 2015.

The course is sponsored and organized by the Medical Research Center Oulu Doctoral Programme (MRC Oulu-DP) and Biocenter Oulu Doctoral Programme (BCO–DP), University of Oulu, Finland and The National Graduate School of Clinical Investigation (CLIGS).


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 naïve 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.


To whom

The course is meant primarily for graduate students and post-docs interested and/or working in human genetics, but applies also to the evolutionary and experimental genetics of wild or model species as well. More senior scientists are welcome, however, in the case there are too many applicants, the priority will be given to below-PI level people.

Course Faculty

Joseph D. Terwilliger, PhD, Professor of Neurobiology (in Psychiatry, in Genetics and Development, and in the in the Sergievsky Center), Columbia University, New York, USA and National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland. (Joe's profile page in Columbia University)

Kenneth Weiss, PhD, Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Genetics, Department of Anthropology, Penn State University, USA. (Ken's profile page in Penn State)

Anne Buchanan, PhD, Adjunct Senior Research Associate in Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Penn State University, USA.

Markus Perola, MD, PhD, Research Professor, Genomics and Biomarkers Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM).

Tero Hiekkalinna, PhD, Genomics and Biomarkers Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM).

And additional local or national guest lecturers.

How to apply

We will be able to accept only about 50-60 students for the course and the students will be selected according their applications.

Registration deadline is 31st of July, 2015.

If you have any trouble with the registration form, send email to Mirja Peltola mirja.peltola(at)oulu.fi.

What does it cost

The course is FREE. However participants have to cover their own travel and accommodation costs and meals.


Mirja Peltola, MRC Oulu-DP coordinator, e-mail: mirja.peltola(at)oulu.fi, Phone: +358407309429


You can search hotels from here (English): http://www.visitoulu.fi/en/accommodation/hotels/

Some pictures from the previous courses 2004, 2006 and 2013

Ken, 2013

Joe, 2013

Ken, 2006

Picnic at Suomenlinna fortress, 2006

Ken and Joe, 2004

On private tram ride...SpåraKoff! 2004