Feedback on the Data Challenge "Epigenetic & High-Dimension Mediation"

from June 7, 2017 to June 9, 2017

From June 7 to 9, 30 researchers and students from all over Europe and from the USA contributed to the data challenge « Epigenetic & High-Dimension Mediation » in Aussois.

Progresses in high-throughput sequencing make it possible to study how epigenetic changes mediate the effects of environmental risk factors on diseases. Epigenetic changes are said to be mediators when they intervene in the causal pathway between environmental exposures and diseases. Epigenetic changes mediate the effect of environmental risk factors such as pollution or endocrine disruptors on various diseases.


The objective of the challenge was to propose solutions and evaluate statistical methods for mediation analysis.


Introductory lectures and demos in R about multiple hypotheses testing, epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS), and statistical mediation analyses were provided by several instructors:

  • Introduction to environmental health by Remy Slama (IAB, Univ Grenoble Alpes)
  • Introduction to mediation analysis for environmental health by Johanna Lepeule (IAB, Univ Grenoble Alpes)
  • Statistical analysis and R packages for mediation analysis by Michael Blum (TIMC-IMAG, Univ Grenoble Alpes)
  • Omics data in biomedical research (SNP, methylation marks) by Magali Richard (TIMC-IMAG, Univ Grenoble Alpes)
  • Accounting for confounding factors in association studies by Olivier François (TIMC-IMAG, Univ Grenoble Alpes)


Presentations and details about the participation to the data challenge are available on line on the github collaborative platform.


The challenge allowed participants to work together and learn from each other. To foster collaboration, collaborative tools such as  R notebooks and github were used. The remote setting of the event, the charming village of Aussois in the Vanoise National Park (French Alps) and social activities, contributed to enhance interactions between participants.


The next Grenoble Alpes Data Institute challenge is already open to registration. The event will be organised in Assois from September 11 to 15, 2017 and will deal with software and statistical methods for population genetics. Read more about the upcoming challenge and register online.
Published on May 23, 2018