We propose a K12 Career Development Program on Omics of Pediatric Lung Diseases DC based within the Department of Integrative Systems Biology (ISB), George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (GW), and fully commensurate with the Center for Genetic Medicine Research (GenMed) at Children's National Medical Center (CNMC) in Washington DC (ISB/GenMed) (see www.gwumc.edu/isbweb). Omics is a systems biology approach to biology in health and disease, and an underlying lynch pin for the emergence of 'personalized medicine'. Providing career development support in omics of lung diseases is timely and highly important for both physician/scientists and PhD scientists A fundamental problem is that systems biology approaches utilizing multi-level omics data sources are exceptionally multi-disciplinary, requiring the lung researcher to have working expertise in many areas of academic endeavor that were, previously, considered distinct (aka 'siloed'). The key challenge for K12 omics career development programs is to break down traditional siloes in academic medicine, providing a large research tool box to the Scholar that ranges from epigenomics, to bioinformatics of next-generation sequence data, to phenotype/environment interactions. Our K12 program responds to this need by providing time for Scholars to: 1) take coursework in omics and systems biology relevant to their research;2) learn state-of-the art laboratory methodology in genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics;3) develop preliminary data under the supervision of a Lead Mentor and Mentoring Team that will lead to submission of an independent NIH grant application;and 4) learn to effectively translate their accomplishments to the improvement of pediatric lung diseases. In order to accomplish their goals the K12 Scholars will spend at least 75% effort honing these skills over a 1-3 year period of time, depending on past experience and topic area. During this period each of the above goals is addressed in a systematic fashion including participation in a core curriculum in research methodology and biostatistics and performance of increasingly independent research in the laboratory of a Lead Mentor. Our proposed K12 program draws 11 Lead Mentors and 16 secondary Mentors from the ISB/GenMed roster who will function as a Mentoring Team in four Affinity areas: Genetics and Genomics;Proteomics;Bioinformatics, and Clinical and Pre-Clinical Phenotyping. The administrative structure of the K12 includes two Co-Principal Investigators with complementary expertise in omics and lung biology/diseases who will serve as Program Director and Career Development Director, respectively, a Director of Minority Recruitment, and internal and external advisory committees. We propose to select and train a total of 2-4 K12 Scholars during a 5 year grant period.
Omics is the emerging foundation for personalized medicine, yet there is a lack of a critical mass of researchers trained in and applying that knowledge to diseases of the lung. The K12 Omics of Pediatric Lung Diseases DC Career Development Award Program at Children's National will respond to this need by training the next generation of physician scientists and PhD scientists who will be able to perform and apply omics approaches to issues of importance in pediatric lung diseases.