Epigenetics for developmental and metabolic regulation in plants and algae

Starting date:  Sep. 2nd – 13th, 2024

Registration deadline: June

Location: 3 days in Bodø + digital


Students should pre-apply for this course at Nord using this link.

Course leader

Practical info

This course runs September 2nd to 13th. The digital part will be Sep 2nd – Sep 10th, then on site in Bodø Sep. 11th to 13th. The onsite parts in Bodø are not digital, but the course uses the combination of online and on site teaching together. The responsible institution is Nord and UiO.

Important! Registration is binding! Do not register for a course unless you are sure that you can attend.
Students can only formally register from June at Nord for the autumn semester. Please pre-apply using this form.

Course content

Epigenetics refers to the study of potentially heritable phenotypic changes that are brought about by gene expression changes caused by mechanisms such as DNA methylation, histone modifications, and microRNAs. Epigenetic mechanisms are involved in regulating developmental processes and responses to changing environments and, thus, important from an evolutionary, ecological, and biotechnological perspective. This course is aimed at students with little experience in plant and algal epigenetics and teaches through lectures, seminars, and discussion groups the scientific background that allows to identify fields in which epigenetic research can have wide impact and application potential. Lectures and discussions revolve around theoretical aspects of epigenetic mechanisms, methods, application potential and wider implications in the field of ecology, evolution, and bioengineering.

Register if the course aimresonates with you: to build research ideas and design a project around knowledge and research gaps in the field of plant and algae epigenetics

More details on content

Topics include

Course topics include

  • an overview of epigenetic marks, including DNA methylation, histone modifications,and microRNAs
  • Enzymatic regulation of epigenetic marks
  • How epigenetic marks affect gene expression
  • Indications for transgenerational stability of epigenetic marks
  • Contribution of epigenetics to plasticity and evolution
  • Sequencing methods for epigenetic marks- Biotechnological potential of epigenetic engineering.

External speakers will attend via video or on-site.

The course aims to foster critical and innovative thinking through a chosen topic that challenges existing paradigms, addresses complex topics, or controversies within the field of plant/algae epigenetics.

The course runs over two weeks with lectures, discussions, and group work. The total workload is estimated to about 140 hours and divides into:

  • 20 hours lectures
  • 20 hours discussion seminar
  • 65 hours literature studies, ca. 325 pages at five pages per hour
  • 40 hours group work and writing final report. The evaluation will be based on a report that shall be delivered within a month after the end of the course.

Work requirements
•Minimum 80% attendance
•Approved project work/report

Learning outcome

After having completed the course, the student will have a solid theoretical basis on epigenetic mechanisms and their application potential in plant and algae research.


The student…

  • can recite the role of epigenetic mechanisms in plant and algae development as a prerequisite to develop new theories in the field of plant and algae epigenetics, and to identify application potentials in science and industry
  • can outline the epigenetic mechanisms and their specificities in plants and algae in order to be able to
  • develop methods-parts of epigenetics-related research projects
  • can explain the effect epigenetic mechanisms have on plasticity, acclimation, and adaptation to allow to communicate their wide relevance and implications, including ethical elements, of natural and assisted evolution, strain development and selection
  • can describe the methods that allow characterization and engineering of epigenetic marks in order to be able to develop and carry out methods-parts of epigenetics-related research projects


The student can…

  • can select appropriate methods to investigate epigenetic patterns and their phenotypic effects to allow for projects that provide proof that epigenetic mechanisms are the underlying cause of phenotypic change.
  • is able to plan research fairly that follows strong moral principles and does not exploit nature or society to obtain answers that meet high international standards.
  • is able to understand the value of science by designing research projects that test novel or challenge established fundamental theories in plant/algae epigenetics, and the application potential of epigenetic bio-engineering; and that allow to make robust conclusions on the obtained observations. This is a prerequisite to pursue a scientific career in the field or its application in the plant- and algae industry.

General compentencies

The student…

  • can discuss with peers on the complexity of epigenetics research to establish peer networks as an important component for developing an own research line in the fieldcan communicate the potential of epigenetics research for innovation that reduces our footprint on nature, and that aligns with the UN sustainability goals.
  • can put into perspective the relevance and implications of epigenetics plant and algae research to allow exploiting epigenetic mechanisms for nature-based solutions to challenges in conservation and industry.
  • can design research ideas, and manage and undertake assignments and interdisciplinary tasks individually or in a team as a preparation for project development.

Course dates

This course runs September 2nd to 13th. The digital part will be Sep 2nd – Sep 10th, then on site in Bodø Sep 11th to 13th. The onsite parts in Bodø are not digital, but the course uses the combination of online and on site teaching together.

Admission deadline

June 2024

Admission requirements

Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of genetics and plant or algae biology.

Priority is given to students that are members of the Photosyntech PhD school.

The course will be arranged with a minimum number of 5 students. Maximum participants: 20.




Minimum 80% attendance

Approved project work/report (A-C approved, D-F fail).