Volos Summer School of Human Genetics 2020

⚠Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, we regret to inform you that the Volos Summer School of Human Genetics 2021 has had to be cancelled. We look forward to seeing you in 2022!

Join us for 3 days of lectures and workshops revolving around genome-wide association studies.


Join us in sunny Volos (Βόλος) on the coast of Thessaly. You will find a range of accommodation facilities around the summer school venue.

The Venue

Vocational Training Center – University of Thessaly

Giannitson & Lahana, Palaia,
Complex Tsalapatas,
Zip: 38334, Volos,
Tel: +30 24210 06366-68
Fax: +30 24210 06487
e-mail: kdvm@uth.gr

How to get there

Follow this link to Google Maps.

Course overview

The Volos Summer School will cover a range of topics surrounding the human genetics of complex traits, with a focus on the computational and statistical analysis of genome-wide data. Areas of focus will be the conduct of genome-wide association studies, meta-analysis of several studies, and the joint analysis of multiple diseases/traits to understand pleiotropy.

The course will be split into seminars and workshops. The former will provide background theory to the topics covered, while the latter will allow students to implement some of the analysis concepts presented during the seminars.

Students will obtain the skills to manipulate and analyse large data sets in a Unix environment and a basic understanding of scripting and programming skills.

Students will also have the opportunity to discuss  their own projects and ideas with experienced researchers in the field. At the start of the summer school, students will be asked to form teams and design a genetic study, which will be discussed at the end of the program and evaluated by the instructors. The best project idea will receive an award.

The main objectives of this summer school are to provide students with a solid grounding in the use of bioinformatics tools, key software, statistical and visualization methods and their various applications in genome studies.

Due to the range of material covered, this is an intense three-day course and will require the active participation of students.

Who can attend ?

The Volos Summer School is intended for early career researchers (graduate students or post-docs) interested to learn about the genetics of complex human traits and gain practical skills in bioinformatics and the analysis of genomics data.

We welcome applications from researchers with a strong background in the biological sciences or a quantitative field (mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering, etc.).

Attendees should have some familiarity with a command-line tool such as UNIX, R or MATLAB, and have some basic statistical knowledge.

All seminars and workshops will be held in English, and a good command of the language is a prerequisite.


Eleftheria Zeggini

Director, Institute of Translational Genomics, Helmholtz Centre Munich

Arthur Gilly

Head of Analytics, Institute of Translational Genomics, Helmholtz Centre Munich

Konstantinos Hatzikotoulas

Senior Bioinformatician, Institute of Translational Genomics, Helmholtz Centre Munich

Loz Southam

Senior Staff Scientist, Institute of Translational Genomics, Helmholtz Centre Munich

Fernando Riveiros McKay Aguilera

Scientist, Genomics plc.


10:00-11:00 Welcome Session and Students Introduction
11:00-11:30 Lecture 1: Introduction to complex trait genetics (E. Zeggini)


Lunch (11:30-12:00)
12:00-13:00 Workshop 1.a. (L. Southam, K. Hatzikotoulas):

Basic UNIX (Optional)

Working with the command line, listing and editing files and directories.

13:00-14:00 Workshop 1.b. (L. Southam, K. Hatzikotoulas, A. Gilly):

Advanced UNIX

File reformatting on the command line, pipelines, subshells and scripts.

14:15-15:45 Lecture 2 : Current tools and best practices for performing genome-wide scans (A.Gilly)

Workshop 2: Data Quality control (K.Hatzikotoulas)

Quality control, representation of results from genome-wide scans.

15:45-17:30 Student project workshop


09:30-10:15 Lecture 3:
The statistics of genome-wide association studies (A. Gilly)
10:15-11:00 Lecture 4: Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (L. Southam)
11:15-12:15 Workshop 2 (continued):
Data Quality control  (K. Hatzikotoulas)

Lunch (12:15-13:00)

13:00-14:30 Workshop 3:
Genetic association workshop (L. Southam, K. Hatzikotoulas)Performing a genome-wide association study from data preparation to analysis of results.
14:45-16:15 Workshop 4:
Publicly available bioinformatics resources (K. Hatzikotoulas)Examining the results of a genome-wide scan. Functionality of variants, previous associations, genomic context.
16:15-17:30 Student project workshop


9:30-10:30 Keynote Lecture:
Genome-wide association studies of type 2 diabetes across diverse populations (Pr. A. Morris, Uni. of Manchester)
10:45-11:30 Lecture 5:
An introduction to Polygenic Risk Scores (F. Aguilera)

Lunch and student project workshop (11:30-12:30)

12:30-14:00 Workshop 5 :

Meta-analysis (L. Southam, A. Gilly)

Accessing published results, data preparation, meta-analysis and quality control.

14:15-15:45 Student project presentations



15 April 2020


1 May 2020


The course is free for all participants. Students should arrange their own accommodation and transportation. Limited bursaries will be available. Please state in your application if you would like to be considered for a bursary and provide full justification.



The courses and workshop will be held in English, and students should also use English when submitting their application.


There are twenty (20) full places for this course. Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Expressed motivation of the participant. Students should submit a personal statement explaining their motivation behind attending the summer school, what they hope to learn and how the skills gained during their attendance will help them in future career plans
  • Familiarity with a command-line tool such as UNIX, R or MATLAB
  • Basic statistical knowledge
  • Recommendations from their group’s principal investigator

Apply now!

To apply, please provide  the following documents:

✓ Curriculum vitae (CV)

✓ Letter of recommendation

✓ Personal statement (see above)


Send the above to


before 15.04.20

Local Organisers

Zissis Mamuris

Professor of Animal Population Genetics, University of Thessaly

Chronis Velentzas

PhD Candidate, University of Thessaly Research Committee