Hasso-Plattner-InstitutSDG am HPI
Hasso-Plattner-InstitutDSG am HPI

Analyze Your Personal Genome (Sommersemester 2020)

Dozent: Dr. Claudia Schurmann (Digital Health - Personalized Medicine) , Tamara Slosarek (Digital Health - Personalized Medicine) , Susanne Ibing (Digital Health - Personalized Medicine)

Allgemeine Information

  • Semesterwochenstunden: 4
  • ECTS: 6
  • Benotet: Ja
  • Einschreibefrist: 06.04.2020-22.04.2020
  • Lehrform: Seminar
  • Belegungsart: Wahlpflichtmodul
  • Lehrsprache: Englisch
  • Maximale Teilnehmerzahl: 15

Studiengänge & Module

Digital Health MA
  • DICR-Concepts and Methods
  • DICR-Technologies and Tools
  • DICR-Specialization
  • APAD-Concepts and Methods
  • APAD-Technologies and Tools
  • APAD-Specialization
  • SCAD-Concepts and Methods
  • SCAD-Technologies and Tools
  • SCAD-Specialization


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


Presentation in one class: 50%
Active Contribution to discussions in class: 20%
Final exam: 30%


Pre-course meeting: April 21 2020 @10am via Zoom

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

Please write an e-mail to us, we will share call-in details for the meeting.

Introductory class: May 26 2020 @ 9.15am - 12.30pm 

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Thomas Meitinger

Course Objectives: Understand ethical, legal and social implications of genetic testing. Understand context & decisions facing patients, researchers and clinicians. Review current understanding of how patients respond to genetic testing results emotionally and behaviorally. 

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: June 16 2020 @ 9.15am - 12.30pm 

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

Pharmacogenomics: June 23 2020 @ 3.00pm - 6.15pm 

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: June 30 2020 @ 3.00pm - 6.15pm  

Lecturer: Noura Abul-Husn, MD, PhD

Course Objectives: Gain a deeper understanding of Medical Genetics


Block course: First week of August 2020

The main part of the course will be a mixture of lectures and practical exercises.


  • Basics concepts of molecular genetics / the human genome
  • Genetic diversity & genetic variation,
  • Population structure
  • Genotyping & sequencing techniques
  • GWAS and GWAS meta analyses: Basic concepts, examples
  • Effects of genetic variations, clinical relevance
  • Overview genomic databases, tools and data resources used in annotating and interpreting a personal genome
  • Monogenic and polygenic traits and diseases, genetic risk scores
  • Interpretation of SNV findings (effect size, causal vs. not, multi-allelic models) and the limitations thereof
  • Direct to consumer testing
  • Genetic ancestry 
  • Pharmacogenomics