Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI
Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI

Understanding Your Genome – An Introduction to Human Genome Analysis and Interpretation (Sommersemester 2021)

Dozent: Dr. med. Henrike Heyne (Data Analytics and Computational Statistics) , Dr. med. Henrike Heyne (Data Analytics and Computational Statistics) , Susanne Ibing (Data Analytics and Computational Statistics) , Tamara Slosarek (Digital Health - Personalized Medicine)

Allgemeine Information

  • Semesterwochenstunden: 4
  • ECTS: 6
  • Benotet: Ja
  • Einschreibefrist: 18.03.2021 - 09.04.2021
  • Lehrform: Seminar
  • Belegungsart: Wahlpflichtmodul
  • Lehrsprache: Englisch
  • Maximale Teilnehmerzahl: 20

Studiengänge, Modulgruppen & Module

Digital Health MA



Mandatory Pre-course meeting 
04/07/21 @ 3:15pm-4pm via Zoom


General information

This course is designed for Digital Health master students at the Digital Engineering Faculty of the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) and the University of Potsdam organized by the HPI Digital Health Center (DHC), Research Group – Digital Health and Personalized Medicine.


The purpose of the course “Analyze Your Personal Genome” is to introduce students to the ethical, biological and mathematical aspects of using personal genome information in health care, medical practice and biomedical research.

We will focus on practical issues using publicly available individual genomic data and other genomic data at population level to learn about the basic concepts of statistical genomics. Students will have the opportunity to explore a selection of their own genomic data to understand the predictive character of genomic variants and their significance for diagnosis, prognosis and therapy in medicine.

The content of the course covers genotyping techniques, bioinformatics and statistical basics including the linking of the collected data with public available databases and the interpretation of sequence variation. We will discuss scientific issues such as determining the genetic lineage of individuals, learning from genomes about the migration and evolution of the human population, and how natural selection has shaped human genomes. Furthermore, the course will discuss medical aspects: how to detect disease-causing genetic mutations, how to predict diseases such as diabetes based on genomic data, and how genetic information can be used to recommend clinical treatments. Additionally, we will talk about direct-to-consumer tests commonly used to inform about non-medical, general wellness traits (such as athletic ability, hair color, earwax type, wine taste preferences, -for example), or help individuals explore their genetic ancestry. Practical exercises will form the core of the course.


Digital Health master students


  • Condition for admission to final exam (Prüfungsvorleistung):  Hand in solutions to all of the assignments/exercises

  • The final grade will be determined by the final exam at the end of the course (100%).


Pre-course meeting: 04/07/21 @ 15:15pm-16:30 via Zoom


Purpose: to talk about course organization and share general information about the course.

Please write an e-mail to understanding-your-genome(at)lists.myhpi.de, we will share call-in details for the meeting.

Introductory class: 04/14/21 @ 15:15pm-18:30 via Zoom

Lecturer: Henrike Heyne, PhD

Course Objectives: An introduction to genetic influences on health and disease. An introduction to ethical, legal and social implications of genetic testing including disease prediction concerning patients, healthy individuals, researchers and clinicians.

On completion of the course students will get the opportunity to donate DNA for their personal genetic testing. 

This introductory course is mandatory for participating in the main part of the course. Your decision whether or not to take part in the personal genetic testing component of the course will not affect your ability to participate in the course.

Basic concepts of molecular genetics: 05/05/21 @ 15:15pm-18:30 via Zoom

Lecturer: Claudia Schurmann, PhD 

Course Objectives: Understand the basics concepts of human molecular genetics, including:

  • Basic principles of nucleic acid structure and gene expression 
  • Fundamentals of cells and chromosomes 
  • Patterns of inheritance 
  • An overview of human genetic variation
  • Human population genetics 
  • Human evolution

Population genetics: 05/12/21 @ 15:15pm-18:30 via Zoom

Lecturer: Henrike Heyne, PhD

Course Objectives: An introduction to how population history shapes genetic variation and diversity in human genomes today. We will also discuss the importance of population genetics for genomic medicine including how eurocentric genetic research may increase existing health disparities.

Ancestry: 05/19/21 @ 15:15pm-18:30 via Zoom

Lecturer: Till Andlauer, PhD

Pharmacogenomics: 06/02/21 @ 15:15pm-18:30 via Zoom

Lecturer: Aniwaa Owusu-Obeng, PharmD

Course Objectives: At the end of this lecture, students will be able to:

  • Describe the basic principles and concepts in pharmacogenomics
  • To explore the potential clinical benefits of pharmacogenomics
  • Identify and review literature and clinical guidelines on common PGx examples
  • Review and address relevant patient cases
  • Discuss strategies used to implement pharmacogenomics into clinical practice

Genomic Medicine: 06/16/21 @ 15:15pm-18:30 via Zoom

Lecturer: Noura Abul-Husn, MD, PhD

Course Objectives: Gain a deeper understanding of Medical Genetics

Genome Wide Association Studies: 06/30/21 @ 15:15pm-18:30 via Zoom

Claudia Schurmann, PhD
Henrike Heyne, PhD
Barbara Schormair, PhD

Course Objectives: An introduction to GWAS - understanding the concepts underlying GWAS design & GWAS quality control.

Genotyping & Sequencing Techniques: 07/14/21 @ 15:15pm-18:30 via Zoom

Lecturer: Per Hoffmann, PhD

Block course: August 2-4 + 9-10 2021

August 2-4: On campus, HE 51/52
August 9-10: online



Weekday Start End Type Topic
10:00 10:10 Organisation Time to fill out the course questionnaire
10:10 10:30 Seminar Introduction PLINK I
10:30 12:00 Practical work Hands-on exercises using OpenSNP data set
13:00 13:30 Lecture Introduction to PLINK II
13:30 15:30 Practical work Hands-on exercises using OpenSNP data set
10:00 10:45 Lecture Overview genomic databases / tools and data resources used in annotating and interpreting a personal genome
10:45 12:00 Practical work Hands-on work with genomic databases 
13:00 14:30 Lecture Interpretation of variants & risk (Dr Andlauer )
14:30 15:30 Lecture & Practical work Hands on Work: Exploration of selected personal genomic data, Genomic Risk Scores
10:00 10:45 Lecture Variant interpretation
10:45 15:30 Practical work Hands on exercise: Exploration and interpretation of selected association results / selected personal genomic data


13:00 18:00 Seminar Student presentations & course review
tbd tbd Seminar Panel discussion

Panel discussion on Tuesday scheduled either from 9:00-13:00 or 13:-16:00.

The final exam will take place on Friday 08/13/21 at 9 AM (online).