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Doctoral students interested in being formally part of the Program in Chromatin and Epigenetics can apply for entrance into a certificate program. The goal of this program is to provide students with more emphasis on epigenetic mechanisms and further exposure to approaches and techniques used in epigenetic research.

Accepted students would be on a track to receive a certificate in the program, but would receive their formal doctoral degrees in a related discipline (e.g., Biochemistry & Biophysics, Genetics, Genetics and Molecular Biology Curriculum). Award of the certificate involves completion of several classes, attendance at the Carolina Chromatin Consortium seminars with one presentation in this venue, and presenting a poster or platform talk at an international meeting that has at least one programmatic session on epigenetic mechanisms. Completion of the certificate would coincide with receiving the doctoral degree in the student’s formal doctoral program. Students should have at least two faculty members that are in the Chromatin and Epigenetics program on their thesis committee (one of which can be their mentor).

Interested students should contact Dr. Brian Strahl with a summary of their research project (as it relates to epigenetics) and CV.


Coursework Requirements

Required core modules (5 credits total)

BIOC631 or BIOC632: Advanced Molecular Biology I or II (3 credit hrs)

 BIOC702: Advanced Topics in Chromatin and Epigenetics (2 credit hrs)


3 total credit hours from the following:

BIOC706: Biochemistry of Human Disease (2 credit hrs)

GNET 621: Principles of Genetic Analysis (3 credit hrs)

GNET 646: Principles and Experimental Approaches of Mammalian Genetics (1 credit hr)

GNET 749: Practical RNA-Seq (2 credit hrs)

GNET 747: Development of New applications for Next Generation Sequencing (2 credit hrs)


BIOC703:  Seminars in Chromatin and Epigenetics (1 credit hr)

Class description:

The course focuses on the ongoing epigenetic seminar series across departments at UNC. During the spring semester, students will be assigned to introduce and present the work of visiting seminar speakers to the rest of the class. These presentations will precede the seminar and will serve to familiarize the students with the speaker’s work so that they can optimally engage the speaker when she/he visits. The students will work with the course Instructor as well as the seminar Host to develop, practice, and refine a short presentation. The presentation should introduce the work the visiting scientist will present. Once the talk has been practiced and refined, the students will then give their presentation to the rest of the class. During the presentation, the rest of the students in the class will play an active role in evaluating the presentation. Students will then attend the speaker’s seminar and complete a written critique of the seminar.

This key required course serves four purposes:

  1. To provide a vehicle that exposes Trainees to the broad and current field of epigenetics through introducing and presenting the work of visiting seminar speakers to the class.
  2. To familiarize the entire class with a broad range of epigenetics research techniques and methods.
  3. To develop proficiency in the verbal communication skills required of successful scientists.
  4. To develop the presentation skills that enable students to better communicate their research findings to the scientific and lay community.

Additional requirements

– Regular monthly attendance at the Carolina Chromatin Consortium (C3) monthly seminars

– Participation in the yearly Chromatin and Epigenetics Symposium

– Present at an international meeting that has at least one programmatic session on epigenetic mechanisms