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

August 5-6, 2024 | Hybrid training

Registration is open! Join us for the next hybrid Mendelian Randomization Boot Camp on August 5-6, 2024. 

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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Jump to: Overview | Audience & Requirements | R Tutorials | Instructor | Scholarships | Locations | Testimonials | Registration Fees | Additional Information

Boot Camp Overview

Summer 2024 dates: Hybrid training (In-person training and simultaneous livestream for remote attendees) August 5-6, 2024; 10am - ~6pm 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

Audience and Requirements

Investigators from any institution and from all career stages are welcome to attend, and we particularly encourage trainees and early-stage investigators to participate. There are three requirements to attend this training:

  1. Each participant is required have a working laptop or tablet with video and audio capabilities.
  2. The Boot Camp will use data sets in R/RStudio using the Posit Cloud (formerly RStudio Cloud) platform, therefore it is required that each participant has previous experience using R.
  3. Each participant must have a free, basic Posit Cloud (formerly RStudio Cloud) account prior to the first day of the boot camp.

R Tutorials

Knowing basic R platform and commands is required for the Boot Camp as noted in the requirements above. This training will use Posit Cloud (formerly RStudio Cloud). If you are new to R or need a refresher, you can review the below tutorials to be well prepared:

  1. R Programming Tutorial - Learn the Basics: A free class on R fundamentals
  2. Once you create your free, basic Posit Cloud (formerly RStudio Cloud) account for the training: Primers on Programming Basics and Visualization Basics.
  3. SHARP Program RStudio Cloud Tutorial: This self-paced tutorial from the Columbia SHARP Program walks through the Cloud Platform you will use at the training, as well as some basic exercises. We recommend this tutorial if you have not used the Cloud version of RStudio before, or if you are a beginner user of R.

If you have any specific questions about R and RStudio in the context of the Mendelian Randomization Boot Camp, please email the Mendelian Randomization team.


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.


Summer 2024: The Mendelian Randomization Boot Camp will be a hybrid setup with an in-person training at the Columbia University Irving Medical Campus in NYC and simultaneously livestreamed for remote attendees on August 5-6, 2024 from 10am EDT - ~6pm EDT.

More information on travel, lodging, and getting around NYC.


"Good training. It provides a historic overview of the topic, including language to consider when writing about the topic, as well as an exceptional laboratory component that allows you to practice running the various analyses on your own." - Faculty member at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2023

"I think the boot camp is great and the materials are really clear and helpful. The labs and R codes will be helpful in my own research." - PhD candidate at University of Michigan, 2023

"It was a great experience! I had no prior knowledge on this topic, but the instructors did an excellent job of explaining everything clearly." - Faculty member at The University of Texas at San Antonio, 2023

Additional Testimonials

"Excellent overview of a seemingly complicated subject. Exceptionally well designed and articulated content by experts in the field." - Faculty member at Houston Methodist, 2022

"The Mendelian Randomization Boot Camp provided the tools to perform an MR analysis from start to finish. The instructor encouraged participation of the students and answered questions about integrating MR into our own research." - Postdoc at University of California, Berkeley

"This course gave me confidence in conducting a Mendelian Randomization Study. The lectures and lab sessions were very insightful and useful for my future research endeavors." - Student at University of Reading, 2022

"I learned a lot from this two-day MR boot camp from the concept to the implementation. It is very helpful for beginners to formalize the general framework of MR." - Postdoc at Columbia University, 2022

"The Mendelian Randomization Boot Camp was extremely useful and provided me with practical knowledge and understanding of the tools that I can now readily apply in my research." - Faculty member at New York University, 2021

"I think the course was well done. Mary was very knowledgeable and provided simple explanations to difficult concepts." - Ruth C., Staff Scientist at NIH, 2021

"Comprehensive and quick introduction to useful tools and ideas for performing Mendelian Randomization." - Staff member at AbbVie, 2021

"This was easily the best workshop I've attended. I left feeling like I could apply the skills I learned immediately." - Student at The University of Arizona, 2021

"The Boot Camp provided a great introduction to Mendelian Randomization, the methods, applicability and limitations." - Faculty member at Cornell University, 2020 (virtual)

"Now I know how to make use of existing GWAS results to solve MR problems. The potential and opportunities are massive!" - Academic Staff member at the University of California, San Francisco, 2020 (virtual)

"As someone who had very limited prior knowledge of Mendelian Randomization, I found this course very useful. The team was extremely helpful and receptive to modifying the course to best fit the needs of the attendees." - Postdoc at Harvard University, 2020 (virtual)

"A fantastic introduction into the world of Mendelian Randomization. Dr. Schooling was incredibly insightful and provided a well-rounded overview of Mendelian Randomization." - Student at UNT Health Science Center, 2020 (virtual)

"Excellent comprehensive introduction to MR. All concepts and analysis steps were well explained and after completing the course I felt ready to critically read and interpret MR analyses and methods papers, and ready to conduct my own studies." - Faculty member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 2020 (virtual)

"This is a very useful program. The idea and concept how to do causal analysis and applying instrumental variable analysis in complex biology data will be very useful for advance data analysis and drug development." - Staff member at Johnson & Johnson, 2020 (virtual)

"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." - Postdoc at University of South Florida, 2019

"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

Registration Fees

This is a Hybrid training, meaning attendees can choose to attend the live training either 1) in-person in NYC or 2) virtually livestream via Zoom. Fees in the table below are in-person costs. Virtual registration fees are $200 less.

  In-Person Early-Bird Rate (through 6/10/24)* In-Person Regular Rate (6/11/24 - 7/29/24)* Columbia Discount**
Student/Postdoc/Trainee $1,195 $1,395  10%
Faculty/Academic Staff/Non-Profit Organizations/Government Agencies $1,395 $1,595 10%
Corporate/For-Profit Organizations​ $1,595 $1,795 NA


*Virtual Livestream Fee: Fees in the table above are in-person costs. Those attending virtually livestream via zoom instead of in-person on campus will pay a reduced registration fee by $200 for each category. Pricing will be reflected during the registration process based on category and time of registration.

**Columbia Discount: This discount is valid for any active student, postdoc, staff, or faculty at Columbia University. If paying by credit card, use your Columbia email address during the registration process to automatically have the discount applied. If paying by internal transfer within Columbia, submit this Columbia Internal Transfer Request form to receive further instructions. Please note: filling out this form is not the same as registering for a training and does not guarantee a training seat.

Invoice Payment: If you would prefer to pay by invoice/check, please submit this Invoice Request form to receive further instructions. Please note: filling out this form is not the same as registering for a training and does not guarantee a training seat.

Registration Fee: This is a Hybrid training, meaning attendees can choose to attend the live training either 1) in-person in NYC or 2) virtually livestream via Zoom. The in-person registration fee includes course material, breakfast, and lunch on training days. Course material will be available to all attendees during and after the workshop. Lodging and transportation are not included. The virtual registration fee includes course material, which will be made available to all participants both during and after the conclusion of the training.

Cancellations: Cancellation notices must be received via email at least 30 days prior to the training start date in order to receive a full refund, minus a $75 administrative fee. Cancellation notices received via email 14-29 days prior to the training will receive a 75% refund, minus a $75 administrative fee. Please email your cancellation notice to Due to workshop capacity and preparation, we regret that we are unable to refund registration fees for cancellations <14 days prior to the 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.

Additional Information

The Mendelian Randomization Boot Camp is hosted by Columbia University's SHARP Program at the Mailman School of Public Health.

Jump to: Overview | Audience & Requirements | R Tutorials | Instructor | Scholarships | Locations | Testimonials | Registration Fees | Additional Information