Volos Summer School of Human Genetics 2024

Join us for 4 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

University of Thessaly

Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sekeri & Cheiden,
Pedion Areos,
Zip: 383 34 Volos,

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 four-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.

You will need a Google account and Google Drive with at least 2GB free storage space. For more details about the platform please have a look here.


Eleftheria Zeggini

Director, Institute of Translational Genomics, Helmholtz Centre Munich

Mauro Tutino

Staff scientist, Institute of Translational Genomics, Helmholtz Centre Munich

Konstantinos Hatzikotoulas

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

Loz Southam

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

Ana Arruda

PhD Candidate, Institute of Translational Genomics, Helmholtz Centre Munich



Welcome Session and Students Introduction

Student Project Workshop Introduction



Workshop 1:

Basic UNIX (optional)

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


Additional UNIX

File reformatting, pipelines, subshells and scripts.

(K. Hatzikotoulas, L. Southam)





Lunch break and student project preparation





Lecture 1:

Current tools and best practices for performing genome-wide association scans

(K. Hatzikotoulas)



Workshop 2:

Quality control for genome-wide association scans

Calculating and visualising quality metrics for excluding samples and variants.

(K. Hatzikotoulas, L. Southam)




Lecture 2
Sequencing Methods

(M. Tutino)


Lecture 3
Statistics for Human Genetics

The statistics of genome-wide association studies

(A. Arruda)


Lunch break and student project preparation


Workshop 3
Genetic Association Workshop

Performing a genome-wide association study: from data preparation to analysis of results.

(L. Southam, A. Arruda)


Lecture 4
Meta-Analysis Strategies in Genome-Wide Association Studies

 (A. Arruda)


Workshop 4

Meta-Analysis Workshop

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

(L. Southam, A. Arruda)


Student project workshop


Lecture 5

Molecular QTL Mapping in Humans

(M. Tutino)


Workshop 5

Molecular QTL Mapping in Humans Workshop

Omics data, including genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and epigenomics are increasingly used in GWAS field.

(M. Tutino, L. Southam)


Lunch break and student project preparation


Lecture/Workshop 6

Publicly Available Bioinformatics Resources

Examining the results of a genome-wide association scan. Functionality of variants, previous associations, genomic context.

(K. Hatzikotoulas)


Student Project Preparation


Group Dinner


Lecture 7
An Introduction to Polygenic Scores

(A.  Arruda)


Workshop 7
Polygenic Scores

A guide to performing polygenic score analyses.

(A. Arruda, L. Southam)


Lecture 8:

 Complex Trait Genetics and the Genomic Aetiology of Osteoarthritis.

(E. Zeggini)


Lunch break, VSS photo and student project preparation


Presentations and Q&A session
Students will give presentations on a project in small groups, followed by Q&A session.



Closing remarks by Eleftheria Zeggini



1 May 2024


7 May 2024


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


by 1st May 2024

Local Organisers

Michalis Vassilakopoulos

Chairman, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Thessaly

Dimitrios Bargiotas

Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Thessaly

Chronis Velentzas

PhD, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Thessaly