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Analysis of twin data in health sciences

Graduate Programme in Public Health

This course gives an introduction to the modern analysis in studies of twins. The students will be able to apply basic methods and biometric models using statistical packages, especially the packages “mets” and OpenMx in R. The students learn how to investigate genetic and environmental influences on phenotypes under various twin designs and assumptions. They also learn how twins can be used effectively in studying association controlling for various confounders, the matched case cotwin design.

Twins appear as pairs, and of different zygocity, making them highly informative for inferring genetic and environmental influences for traits. Analysis of such paired data requires special statistical techniques. The course introduces basic statistical concepts that are typically targeted in analysis of twin data and touches some more advanced methods. Findings and insights from studies with twins will be highlighted. Time is devoted for short presentations by the participants including discussion and feedback.

Course arrangements:
4 full days followed by an exam.

Course credit:

Type of evaluation:
Presentation of project report.

Teaching arrangements:
Lectures and exercises including use of computers. The typical arrangement is lectures for the first half of the day and individual course work for the second half.

Course leader:
Jacob Hjelmborg, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Biodemography,SDU.

Course teachers:
Professor Jaakko Kaprio and Associate professor Karri Silventoinen (Epidemiology, University of Helsinki); Professor Thomas Scheike (University of Copenhagen); Professor Kaare Christensen, Associate professor Axel Skytthe; Professor Jacob Hjelmborg (University of Southern Denmark).

Knowledge about statistics corresponding to what is acquired from a graduate level course is preferable. Students should bring their own laptop

Course fee:
The course is free of charge.