Mendelian Randomization Boot Camp: A Practical Guide to Study Design and Implementation



Mendelian Randomization Boot Camp - Columbia University SHARP TrainingRegistration is open! Join us for the next virtual, live-stream Mendelian Randomization Boot Camp: August 3-4, 2020


The Mendelian Randomization Boot Camp is a two-day intensive combination of seminars and hands-on analytical sessions to provide an overview of the concepts, techniques, packages, data sources, and data analysis methods needed to conduct Mendelian Randomization studies.     

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Summer 2020 dates: Live-stream, online training August 3-4, 2020; 10:00am - 5:30pm EDT

This two-day intensive boot camp integrates motivation for Mendelian randomization studies, statistical concepts, genetic considerations, and practical examples to design, implement and interpret a Mendelian randomization analysis. Led by a scientist with several award winning papers on Mendelian randomization combined with extensive expertise in epidemiology, the workshop will integrate seminar lectures with hands-on computer sessions to put concepts into practice. Emphasis will be given to leveraging existing publicly available resources (data, tools and packages) as well as indicating the scope for new studies. The afternoon lab sessions will provide an opportunity to work hands-on with real data. Participants will learn and practice all the steps required for a successful Mendelian randomization analysis using publicly available data, including identifying suitable data sources, data extraction, data alignment, assumption checking and sensitivity analysis.

By the end of this Mendelian Randomization training, participants will be familiar with the following topics:

  • Principles of Mendelian Randomization
  • Implementation options
  • Suitable publicly available data sources
  • Data interpretation and handling
  • Data analysis
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Study design advantages and pitfalls
  • Emerging Mendelian randomization techniques
  • Use of MR-Base

Investigators at all career stages are welcome to attend, and we particularly encourage trainees and early-stage investigators to participate.


  1. Each participant is required to bring a personal laptop as all lab sessions will be done on your personal laptop. Your laptop must have the capability of reading a 900Mb file into R.

  2. The Boot Camp will use data sets in R, therefore it is required that each participant has previous experience using R. If you have any specific questions about R and R studio in the context of the Mendelian Randomization Boot Camp, please email us.

  3. Each participant must have the latest version of R and R studio downloaded and installed prior to attending the Boot Camp.


Mary Schooling, PhD, Department of Environmental, Occupational, and Geospatial Health Sciences at CUNY School of Public Health 


Scholarships are available for the Mendelian Randomization Boot Camp. 


COVID-19 Update: The Mendelian Randomization Boot Camp will no longer take place in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Boot Camp will instead be a live-stream, remote training that takes place over live, online video on August 3-4, 2020 from 10am EDT - 5:30pm EDT. Please note this training is not a self-paced, pre-recorded online training.


Mary provided all the tools and resources needed to carry out quality MR analyses. With this course, I feel confident in applying MR to my research in addition to teaching it to my peers and colleagues. - Student from University of Minnesota, 2018

Mary covered the topic in a very straightforward fashion and everything was very clear. The practicals were relevant to the topic and the TA's were very knowledgeable and helpful as well. - Staff member at University of Pennsylvania, 2018

The MR Boot Camp was excellent and gave nice overview of the methods. In the end, all of us were prepared to do our own MR study. - Anonymous Attendee, 2018

Very practical workshop for attendees to apply the skills learned on their research question of interest. - Anonymous Attendee, 2018

"The Mendelian Randomization Boot Camp was a really great experience! I enjoyed the mix between learning the concepts, practicing, and then applying the methods to my own research." - Student at Vanderbilt University, 2019

"This class was a good overview of the current state of MR and made it so we can perform our own MR studies." - Anonymous Postdoc, 2019

"I thought this was a great overview of the principles and methods of mendelian randomization. More importantly, the hands-on component made me much more comfortable performing my own analyses." - Anonymous Faculty member, 2019

"I learned a lot from this MR Boot Camp and am now ready to apply MR to my area of research." - Agaz, Postdoc at University of South Florida, 2019



COVID-19 Update: With the training being offered virtually, we are passing along any and all costs saved to attendees.

  Early-Bird Rate (through 6/15/20 6/22/20) Regular Rate (6/16/20 6/23/20 - 7/21/20) Columbia Discount*
Student/Postdoc/Trainee $1,150  $825 $1,350 $975  10% off
Faculty/Academic Staff/Non-Profit Organizations   $1,350 $975  $1,550 $1,125 10% off
Corporate/For-Profit Organizations‚Äč $1,550 $1,125 $1,750 $1,275 NA


*Columbia Discount: This discount is valid for any active student, postdoc, staff, or faculty at Columbia University. To access the Columbia discount, email for instructions and specify if you are paying by credit card, or internal transfer within Columbia.

Invoice Payment and Group Registrations: If you would prefer to pay by invoice/check, or would like to pay for a group of registrants, please email with details.

Registration Fee: includes course material which will be available to all students after the workshop.  

Cancellations: For summer 2020, no administrative fees will be assessed due to the evolving COVID-19 situation. Cancellation notices must be received via email at least 14 days prior to the workshop start date in order to receive a full refund. Please email your cancellation notice to Due to workshop capacity and preparation, we regret that we are unable to refund registration fees for cancellations after these dates, unless a new COVID-19 restriction is implemented that impedes virtual attendance, in which case any registration cancellation <14 days prior to a training related to COVID-19 restriction beyond your control (institutional policy, shift in work responsibilities, etc.) will be fully refunded and no administrative fee will be assessed. Because of the significant resources required to develop these trainings, you will be asked to submit supporting documentation (e.g. employer email notice, local regulations, etc.) for any COVID-19 related cancellation <14 days before a given training.

If you are unable to attend the training, we encourage you to send a substitute within the same registration category. Please inform us of the substitute via email at least one week prior to the training to include them on attendee communications, updated registration forms, and materials. Should the substitute fall within a different registration category your credit card will be credited/charged respectively. Please email substitute inquiries to In the event Columbia must cancel the event, your registration fee will be fully refunded. 




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Questions? Email the Mendelian Randomization team here.