Course Identification

Genome structure and function in cancer

Lecturers and Teaching Assistants

Dr. Ofer Shoshani, Dr. Ariel Afek, Dr. Efrat Shema

Course Schedule and Location

Second Semester
Thursday, 09:15 - 11:00, FGS, Rm A

Field of Study, Course Type and Credit Points

Life Sciences: Lecture; Elective; Regular; 2.00 points
Chemical Sciences: Lecture; Elective; Regular; 2.00 points


Grades will be determined based on a seminar (paper presentation) and a 1-page research proposal





Language of Instruction


Attendance and participation

Required in at least 80% of the lectures

Grade Type

Numerical (out of 100)

Grade Breakdown (in %)

Students must present a paper during the course to pass. Grades determined by an exam at the end.

Evaluation Type

Final assignment

Scheduled date 1


Estimated Weekly Independent Workload (in hours)



This course aims to bridge biological and biophysical aspects of genome structure, organization, and function, and specifically how these elements are deregulated in cancer. The course will focus on:

  1. Transcriptional regulation in cancer: (a) Chemical and biophysical recognition of DNA binding proteins, with specific emphasis on protein interactions with normal and abnormal DNA sequences. (b) Mechanisms that alter gene expression in cancer cells, encompassing both genetic and epigenetic modifications. We will discuss genetic amplifications, alterations to chromosome structure, and aberrant epigenetic regulation of genome function.
  2. DNA damage and repair mechanisms in cancer: Mechanisms regulating chromosome stability and outcomes of chromosome instability, epigenetic regulation of repair mechanisms, binding of repair proteins to DNA elements.
  3. DNA replication in normal and cancer cells: Mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance, biophysical studies of topoisomerases function on DNA, and role in genome instability.

Learning Outcomes

Students will learn advanced concepts in cancer genetics and epigenetics from both a biological and biophysical/chemical point of view. Students will be familiarized with the latest research in cancer genome research and the state-of-the-art methodologies used to study cancer genomes and epigenomes. Students will gain a strong understanding on diverse modes of functional genomics: the relationship between sequence and function, how alterations in the genetic code affect the binding of different classes of DNA binding proteins, and how epigenetic regulation can alter all DNA-associated processes such as transcription, DNA repair and replication.

Reading List

Reading material will be provided several weeks before the course starts