Epigenetics Boot Camp: Planning and Analyzing DNA Methylation Studies

Epigenetics Boot Camp Training 1080Course is at capacity! Join the waitlist for the next live-stream Epigenetics Boot Camp: June 14-15, 2021.


The Epigenetics Boot Camp is a two-day intensive boot camp of seminars and hands-on analytical sessions to provide an overview of concepts, techniques, and data analysis methods utilized in human epigenetics studies.       

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Summer 2021 dates: Live-stream, online training June 14-15, 2021; 10:00am EDT - ~5:00pm EDT

This two-day intensive boot camp integrates the principle concepts of epigenetics and the effects of risk factors on the epigenome as we step through the key components of designing and executing DNA methylation studies. Led by a team of scientists with more than 50 years of combined expertise in the field of environmental epigenetics, this epigenetics training will integrate seminar lectures with hands-on computer sessions to put concepts into practice. Emphasis will be given to leveraging existing resources from ongoing studies and initiating new investigations. The afternoon lab sessions will provide an opportunity to work hands-on with real methylation data generated by the Illumina Infinium MethylationEPIC (850k) BeadChip platform. Participants will learn and practice data handling, cleaning, and basic analysis of epigenome-wide DNA methylation data.

By the end of the epigenetics training, participants will be familiar with the following topics:

  • Principles of epigenetics
  • Concept ideation and study design
  • Sample collection and processing
  • Laboratory methods and platforms for analysis
  • Data handling and cleaning
  • Data analysis
  • Study design advantages and pitfalls
  • Emerging epigenetic topics and laboratory platforms

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 have a personal laptop/computer as all lab sessions will be done on your personal device. Tablets and ipads will not work with the platform being used.

  2. The Boot Camp will use data sets in R, therefore participants must have a basic understanding of this platform prior to attending the Boot Camp. If you have never used this platform before, make sure to step through all the tutorials outlined below so you have the basic skills needed for Boot Camp success.


Knowing basic R platform and commands is required for the Boot Camp as noted in prerequisites above. If you are new to R or need a refresher, you can review the below tutorials to be well prepared:

If you have any specific questions about R and R studio in the context of the Epigenetics Boot Camp, please email us.


John Greally, DMed, PhD, Center for Epigenomics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.


Andrea Baccarelli, MD, MPH, PhD, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University 

Anne Bozack, PhD, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley

Andres Cardenas, PhD, MPH, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley

Elena Colicino, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Jonathan Heiss, PhD, Tempus

Allan Just, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Allison Kupsco, PhD, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University 

Learn more about each instructor here.


Chris Mason, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College. Keynote Speaker, 2017.

John Greally, DMed, PhD, Center for Epigenomics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Keynote Speaker, 2017-2018.

Cavin Ward-Caviness, PhD, Environmental Public Health Division, US Environmental Protection Agency. Instructor, 2017.

Kasey Brennan, MS, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. Instructor, 2017-2018.


Scholarships are available for the Epigenetics Boot Camp. 


COVID-19 Update: The Epigenetics 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 June 14-15, 2021 from 10am EDT - ~5pm EDT. Please note this training is not a self-paced, pre-recorded online training. 


"As a novice in this field, I felt the instructors made this course thorough and accessible for all levels of experience.  I left with a greater understanding of DNA methylation and can now speak intelligently about the subject with collaborators and now know how to approach the inclusion of DNA methylation in my future study designs." - Faculty member at the University of California, Davis, 2020

"The Epigenetics Boot Camp was very helpful! The instructors provided all the tools to start analyzing DNA methylation datasets, showed us how to use them, and provided information on how make decisions based on the data and research question." - Postdoc Fellow at University of Texas, Austin, 2020

"The Epigenetics Boot Camp worked as both a refresher and as an introduction for me. Coming from computer science certain lab and molecular biology areas finally made sense to me. It is hard to cover EWAS in two days, but this boot camp gives you a broad overview of the techniques involved." - For-profit Staff member, 2020

"This boot camp was a great overview/introduction of how epigenetics data is collected, processed, and analyzed! I also felt it was set up so that professionals from many different disciplines could learn." - Student at University of Kansas Medical Center, 2020

"Great introduction to Epigenetics and current lab and analytic methods" - Faculty member at San Diego State University, 2020

"An excellent overview of epigenetic epidemiologic studies. Great background and practical experience." - Postdoc Fellow at Boston University, 2020

"The epigenetics boot camp provided excellent and comprehensive information that can be immediately applied to my current research." - Student at the University of New Mexico, 2020

"Impressive bootcamp that included a helpful overview for newbies like myself, but also tons of detail for more experienced users." - Anonymous Faculty member, 2019

"The Epigenetics Boot Camp was a great intro to epigenetics and how to work with epigenetic data. I am so much more confident heading into my dissertation, and working on the epigentics aim, after this program." - Jennifer W., Student at UW-Milwaukee, 2019

"This bootcamp was extremely well-organized and presenters were incredibly knowledgeable about the topics they discussed. It is a deep dive into the technical details of DNA methylation assays, as well as the data gathering and analysis from these assays. I plan to return next year in hopes that I can understand and utilize even more of what was presented." - Anna R., Postdoc Fellow at the University of Cincinnati, 2019

"The instructors were friendly and enthusiastic. The material and activities were accessible and the format allowed participants to engage at their desired level." - Dawn M., Faculty member at Wayne State University, 2019

"The boot camp provided a great overview of important considerations from study conception through design, analysis, and interpretation. The provided information would be useful to researchers with all levels of experience in methylome analyses." -  Mark G., Postdoc Fellow at the American Cancer Society, 2019

"As someone new to epigenetics, this workshop provided a great introduction to key concepts and strategies that will allow me to effectively implement epigenetic data into my research." - Student at Virginia Commonwealth University, 2018

"This was a very useful, all-encompassing dive into the epidemiologic methods required for epigenome-wide DNA methylation analyses.  The instruction was high-quality, and there was a strong lab component that supported application of skills to real-world data.  I would only hope for a part 2 to this quick course." - Alonzo F., Faculty Member at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 2018

"The Boot Camp offers a great balance of introductory concepts in epigenetics with detailed strategies in data analysis. The presentation content is well organized, and the tools provided by the course are practical and helpful to conduct epigenetic studies, even for those new to epigenetics." - Lisa S., Faculty Member at Emory University, 2017

"The level of knowledge and experience as well as careful planning by all instructors made the entire two-day experience worthwhile. Best applied training I have been to, I now feel equipped to work with my own data and collaborate with bioinformatics colleagues in cleaning and analyzing our data."​ Kristen M., Faculty Member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2017 

"Overall, I found the Epigenetics Boot Camp to be a very useful and comprehensive tool for learning basic principles surrounding DNA methylation analysis and interpretation. It provided a good foundation from which to build upon as I advance my knowledge in this field." - Postdoc at Emory University, 2017

"I feel like I was catapulted to the forefront of the field of epigenetics for a stunning view of where the field is going. The workshop gave me clear tools and a roadmap of how to follow the brilliant minds who are leading the way." - Postdoc at Columbia University Medical Center, 2018

"The Boot Camp gives a very comprehensive overview of the epigenetic research with enough technical details that all levels of participants will find informative and educational. I especially appreciate how knowledgeable the speakers are. Thank you for putting such a great workshop together!" - Staff Member at Harvard University, 2017 

"The Epigenetics Boot Camp was an inspiring and very helpful introduction enabling me to grasp the basics of both planning and analyzing epigenetic data. Because of the excellent instructors, one-to-one attention, and clear materials for the lectures and data-labs it was a brilliant learning experience. I would definitely recommend the epigenetics Boot Camp for anyone starting in the field of epigenetics!" - Elize V., Student at Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 2017 


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

  Early-Bird Rate (through 4/15/21) Regular Rate (4/16/21-5/31/21) Columbia Discount*
Student/Postdoc/Trainee $875  $975 10%
Faculty/Academic Staff/Non-Profit Organizations   $975 $1,175 10%
Corporate/For-Profit Organizations​ $1,175 $1,375 NA

*Columbia Discount: This discount is valid for any active student, postdoc, staff, or faculty at Columbia University. To access Columbia discount, email Columbia.EBC@gmail.com 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 Columbia.EBC@gmail.com with details.

Registration Fee: This 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 Columbia.EBC@gmail.comDue to workshop capacity and preparation, we regret that we are unable to refund registration fees for cancellations <14days 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 Columbia.EBC@gmail.com. In the event Columbia must cancel the event, your registration fee will be fully refunded. 





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Questions? Email the Boot Camp team here.

The Epigenetics Boot Camp is hosted by Columbia University's Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the Mailman School of Public Health with additional support from Illumina, Inc.

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