The following courses are taught by members and/or cover key issues of the URPP Evolution:
Fall Semester 2022
An introduction to programming in Python and application to biological problems. These include simple examples from image analysis, population dynamics, pattern formation, statistical analysis, and bioinformatics.
Instructors: Christian von Mering and others
This course offers students a review of current theoretical and methodological advances in the application and analysis of genomic data for addressing evolutionary questions at the population level and at the interface of populations and species, with an emphasis on practical data analysis skills. Through lectures, paper discussions, and interactive computer labs, students will learn the advantages and limitations of specific types of genomic data and methods (e.g. AFLPs, SSRs, SNPs/NGS data, etc.) and they will be provided with an introduction to a variety of powerful software packages for data analysis. Specific topics covered in the course will focus on the application of multi-locus data for estimating population genetic parameters, analysing population structure and differentiation, inter-population relationships, demography, gene flow, finding loci under selection, and understanding the molecular basis of adaptations.
Instructor: Peter Szövényi
Evolution had many inputs into shaping current human health and will continue to do so. Evolutionary medicine uses concepts of evolutionary biology to better understand, prevent and treat disease The module addresses this latest transdisciplinary research with a specific focus on short-term alterations of human health.
Bioinformatics has become an indispensible tool for research in biology, especially in the field of genomics. In this course, you will get an in depth introduction to command lines and to different programming languages through lectures and practicum. In parallel, you will also be invited to choose a small research project linked to comparative genomics in order to get familiarized with data analyses. The goal is to provide you with basic foundation to analyse you own data and write reproducible report in the future.
This course offers a practical and theoretical introduction into the biology of reproduction of invertebrates. Molecular, cell, developmental, physiological, behavioral, ecological and evolutionary approaches and methods are integrated (e.g. microscopic analysis of gamete interactions; genomic methods; comparative analyses of mating systems and sexual conflict; life tables; sexual vs. asexual reproduction; molecular methods).
"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution". Evolutionary theory and methods are essential in all branches of modern biology. This course will provide a broad overview of current evolutionary thought, including the mechanisms of evolutionary change, adaptation and the history of life and will involve practical field and lab work as well as lecture material.
This course will put into practice the material covered in BIO 351 (Principles of Evolution: Theory), offering students the opportunity to develop and realize an evolutionary research project in association with a faculty mentor.
This is a research seminar where students learn to present, discuss, and defend their own research projects and research results, as well as observations from the recent literature.
Next-generation sequencers (NGS) are revolutionizing evolutionary and ecological studies as well as human medical research. Large projects including Human 1000 genomes projects and Arabidopsis 1001 genomes project have enabled genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify genes responsible for common disease and functional changes. The course covers experimental planning, experimental sample preparation, bioinformatic analysis, theory of evolutionary and ecological genomics, including population genetics, population structure, and GWAS. Instruction for basic programming is provided. The script language R is used for processing sequence data, calculating data statistically, and plotting data.
The handling and analysis of biological data using computational methods has become an essential part in most areas of biology. In this lecture, students will be introduced to uses of bioinformatics tools and in different topics, such as molecular resources and databases, standards and ontologies, sequence and high performance genome analysis, biological networks, molecular dynamics, proteomics, evolutionary biology and gene regulation.
Morphology and genetics of the human body are subject to ongoing evolution. Changes of the environment, disease burden or culture demand constant adaptation. This course consists of a series of different lectures on topics related to human adaptation and aims to cover a spectrum of influencing factors and resulting adaptations in humans. Particular emphasis is placed on physiological and pathological processes. A background in human anatomy, genetic analysis or pathophysiology is highly recommended.
Scientific writing is essential to communicating research and to making your research accessible to other scientists. Yet, successful scientific writing requires not only mastering the English language, but also rules and conventions that determine the structure of a scientific publication.
Instructors: Simon Aeschbacher, Ursina Tobler
Participation in lab meeting of research group of Lukas Keller, presentation of own project or scientific problem during one of the meetings
Instructor: Lukas Keller
In this seminar series, participants (group members, invited guests, (volunteers) present aspects of their ongoing research, with emphasis on the application of advanced bioinformatics methods applied during their projects. The seminar series also provides opportunities for presentations by visitors and „hot topic" discussions.
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have revolutionized many fields in biology and are changing the practice of medicine. One of the fields that have been particularly impacted is Metagenomics, which is the study of genetic material recovered directly from environmental samples without first culturing and isolating the organisms. Metagenomics analysis is used to explore the diversity, function, and ecology of different microbial communities such as microflora, water, soil, etc.
Instructors: Ralph Schlapbach and others
In this course we will read and discuss key literature in plant evolution, with a focus on floral evolution. We will read bookchapters as well as primary science literature. Each participant is asked to prepare reading questions for some of the reading assignments, which will then be answered by the course participants. Ample time will be allowed for discussion to achieve a deeper understanding of key concepts in plant evolution. The course is aimed at Master- and PhD students.
By reading and studying relevant books or primary literature and discussing the content, the participants gain an in-depth understanding of the theoretical basis of population genetics and quantitative genetics. The specific topic cycles with a 3-year period. In 2022, the seminar will be based on the book "Coalescent Theory: An Introduction" by John Wakeley (2009).
Instructor: Simon Aeschbacher
The BIO784 Journal Club is dedicated to cutting-edge journal articles in evolutionary genomics, including the subfields of population genetics, speciation and domestication genetics, phylogenetics, quantitative genetics, and the extension of these fields to the -omics era. We encourage a mix of theoretical, methodological, and empirical papers across all taxonomic groups. At the start of a session, one participant presents a summary of the paper and suggests points for discussion. Then all participants discuss the paper. Students are given priority as presenters and during the discussion. PhD students may earn 1 ECTS per semester by presenting one paper and by active participation.
The Zürich Interaction Seminar (ZIS) provides an informal and engaging environment for graduate students (MSc and PhD) to discuss current research in ecology and evolutionary biology. Each 20–40 minute talk reviews exciting developments in a research field or highlights the presenter's current work. Discussions and networking opportunities foster connections within Zürich's ecology and evolution research community. The seminar is jointly hosted by University of Zürich and ETH Zürich, students from both institutions are encouraged to participate.
The study of human evolution and diversity is fundamental to contextualize the bases of our language ability and our current linguistic diversity. Within the broad field of biological anthropology, population genetics is playing a leading role for directly reconstructing demographic changes and estimating population history (origin, migrations and contact). The potential for integrating these results into evolutionary linguistic research is compelling: by understanding human relationships we can draw inferences on how their languages interact in time and space. This course will give an introduction to basic concepts of human population genetics that will allow the participant to understand the relevant literature, with the most used analytical methods. Applications of genetic and bioanthropological research will cover the recent steps of our species, with the history of migration and contact over the continents, as well as deep time evolutionary trajectories in the hominin line, with implication for the language faculty and language production. Targeted case studies of linguistic questions paired with genetics and/or human evolution will be reviewed by the students, focusing on the potential and limitations of the multidisciplinary comparisons examined. The course will present textbook examples from anthropology together with the most recent discoveries from the field, drawing frequent parallels with language science and using a register comprehensible by non- biologists.
Instructor: Chiara Barbieri