Decades of twin studies have established that any conceivable human trait has a heritable component, including biologically distal traits such as personality traits, educational attainment, and income. This insight, combined with a rapid increase in the availability of genetic data, has paved the way for the integration of genetics into the social sciences and conversely, better integration of social sciences into fields such as medicine and epidemiology.
In such interdisciplinary research, important gaps in knowledge are bound to exist. For those with a background in the social sciences, the very nature of genetic data, and how to organize and analyze such data requires a solid training in quite technical concepts in biology. Conversely, for those with a background in biology and medicine, learning to use genetic data from a social-scientific perspective can yield novel insights with medical and biological relevance.
This interdisciplinary summer course bridges knowledge gaps that participants from different backgrounds may have. Specifically, social scientists will get a formal introduction to genetics, while students from medicine and genetics will benefit from the formal treatment of statistical methods as well as the discussion of how investigating the genetics of social-scientific outcomes may lead to medically relevant insights.