Olivier Voinnet: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2022

Name Prof. Dr. Olivier Voinnet
FieldRNA Biology
Professur für RNA-Biologie
ETH Zürich, LFW D 17.3
Universitätstrasse 2
8092 Zürich
Telephone+41 44 633 93 60
RelationshipFull Professor

551-0108-00LFundamentals of Biology II: Plant Biology
Only for:
- Biologie BSc (Programme Regulations 2013) and
- Pharmaceutical Sciences BSc (Programme Regulations 2013)
2 credits2VO. Voinnet, W. Gruissem, S. C. Zeeman
AbstractWater balance, assimilation, transport in plants; developmental biology, stress physiology.
ObjectiveWater balance, assimilation, transport in plants; developmental biology, stress physiology.
Lecture notesPlant Biology: Handouts of the powerpoint presentation will be distributed. It can also be viewed in a password-protected web link.
LiteratureSmith, A.M., et al.: Plant Biology, Garland Science, New York, Oxford, 2010
551-0120-01LPlant Biology Colloquium (Spring Semester)
This compulsory course is required only once. It may be taken in autumn as course 551-0120-00 "Plant Biology Colloquium (Autumn Semester)" or in spring as course 551-0120-01 "Plant Biology Colloquium (Spring Semester)".
2 credits1KC. Sánchez-Rodríguez, K. Bomblies, W. Gruissem, O. Voinnet, S. C. Zeeman
AbstractCurrent topics in Molecular Plant Biology presented by internal and external speakers from accademia.
ObjectiveGetting insight into actual areas and challenges of Molecular Plant Biology.
551-1294-00LGenetics, Genomics5 credits4GJ. Corn, K. Bomblies, U. K. Genick, Z. Kontarakis, R. Schlapbach, G. Schwank, S. Sunagawa, O. Voinnet, K. Weis
AbstractGenetics and epigenetics form the blueprints for all life. Understanding genetics is critical to understanding everything from evolution to cancer. This course covers the fundamentals of modern genetics, with an emphasis on molecular mechanisms, and the use of genetic tools to understand biological biological processes in bacteria, model organisms and humans.
ObjectiveAt the end of this course you will know how traits are inherited between generations and how they move through populations. You will understand the molecular processes that give rise to observable genetic outcomes. You will know the most important genetic tools in different organisms. You will understand how genetic “problems” give rise to a variety of diseases and the fundamentals of modern genetic engineering.
ContentThe appearance and function of an organism (phenotype) is determined by the interplay between its genome (genotype) and the environment: Genotype + environment = phenotype. Understanding these interactions to the point where we can ultimately predict the phenotype from knowledge of the genotype and environmental factors is one of the great challenges of biology.

The goal of this course is that you learn how genetic information is passed between individuals and through populations, and how genetic/genomic methods are used to understand biological processes (the connection between genotype and phenotype).

This course is organized into two parts.

The first part is a solid grounding in modern genetic theory, with an emphasis on molecular mechanisms. What do we really mean when we say traits are passed between generations? How do we measure traits? How do we turn the observable frequency of trait occurrence into an understanding of a gene in a chromosome? Why is sex such a big deal and why do organisms put so much energy into it? How do organisms protect their genomes and what goes wrong when that protection fails?

The second part is a series of expert lectures on applications in modern genetics. How can one use solid understanding of genetic theory to learn about other aspects of biology? How does next-generation sequencing work? What is CRISPR genome editing? Why is brewer’s yeast a powerful genetic tool? How does documenting disease occurrence in many, many individuals tell you where the responsible gene lies on a chromosome? How can one screen all the genes in a genome to figure out which one(s) are responsible for a phenotype?
Lecture notesThe learning material and slides of the input lectures are available on Moodle. There you will also find further information (articles, links, videos).
LiteratureThe course will mostly following Genetics: from Genes to Genomes (7th edition) by Goldberg, Fischer, Hood, and Hartwell.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course builds on the course Bio IA, in particular on that course's content regarding genetics and genomics. The course is based on frontal lectures on genetic theory, expert lectures by genetics practitioners from D-BIOL, self-learning units on Moodle, and exercises.
551-1312-00LRNA-Biology II Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 14.

The enrolment is done by the D-BIOL study administration.
6 credits7PS. Jonas, F. Allain, J. Corn, U. Kutay, O. Voinnet
AbstractIntroduction to the diversity of current RNA-research at all levels from structural biology to systems biology using mainly model systems like S. cerevisiae (yeast), mammalian cells.
ObjectiveThe students will obtain an overview about the diversity of current RNA-research. They will learn to design experiments and use techniques necessary to analyze different aspects of RNA biology. Through lectures and literature seminars, they will learn about the burning questions of RNA research and discuss approaches to address these questions experimentally. In practical lab projects the students will work in one of the participating laboratories. Finally, they will learn how to present and discuss their data in an appropriate manner. Student assessment is a graded semester performance based on individual performance in the laboratory, the written exam and the project presentation.
Lecture notesRelevant material from the lectures will be made available during the course via the corresponding Moodle page.
LiteratureDocumentation and recommended literature will be provided at the beginning and during the course.
551-1332-00LTransposable Elements Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 9.

The enrolment is done by the D-BIOL study administration.
6 credits7PO. Voinnet
AbstractThe host laboratory focuses on “RNA silencing”, a universal mechanism of gene regulation mediated by small RNAs. In plants, one key function of RNA silencing is to mediate defense against invasive parasites such as viruses and transposable elements, the latter being the object of this course. The single project will be conducted in parallel by three groups of three students.
ObjectiveTransposable elements (TEs) are fragments of DNA that can insert into new chromosomal locations; some copy themselves and increase in number within the genome. Though they may cause single-gene mutagenic events, the large scale chromosome rearrangements caused by TEs via illegitimate recombination is by far the main threat they pose to genome integrity. As a result, many organisms use epigenetic control, via DNA/histone methylation, to tame TEs because the ensuing heterochromatin is recalcitrant to recombination. How are active TEs initially detected by their hosts, how is their genomic proliferation arrested and DNA/histone methylation deposited specifically on their genomes; what are the long term - often paradoxically beneficial - consequences of this epigenetic silencing for the host will be addressed in this course, using the plant Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system.
ContentThe course will cover many aspects of TE biology by following the fate of an epigenetically reactivated, single-copy retro-element of Arabidopsis called ÉVADÉ (EVD). EVD’s reactivation will be confirmed by methylation analysis of its Long-terminal repeat (LTR) promoter using bisulfite sequencing. We will then follow EVD’s proliferation in the Arabidopsis genome by quantifying its copy number over multiple inbred generations using quantitative PCR analyses. We will see how, when this number reaches a critical figure of 40-45, all copies of EVD become simultaneously silenced by LTR-derived silencing sRNAs, which we will quantify and map using Illumina deep-sequencing data. We will finally see the consequences of these successive events.