The Univ of Chicago K12 Career Development Program in Omics of Lung Diseases will establish a new pathway for the further training of physician and non-physician junior faculty scientists in the integration and analysis of large data sets to gain new insights into the pathogenetic mechanisms underlying lung diseases and translate these insights into tools for disease diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring. Only junior faculty will be enrolled as Scholars in this 2-year training program, which requires at least 80% commitment. Each will engage in an individualized curriculum of classroom courses and hands-on training, and will apply these skills in a multidimensional, highly-mentored research learning experience. The pro- gram focuses on three respiratory health problems - asthma, childhood sleep disordered breathing, and pulmonary fibrosis - because of their enormous health and economic importance's and the deep and broad expertise at UC in these areas;and because each is paradigmatic of common but complex disease syndromes in which many different combinations of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors conspire to generate a series of closely similar clinical phenotypes that are collectively named as single entities. Recognizing the commonalities of seemingly disparate diseases, we include a fourth training pathway that emphasizes a systems biological approach that spans all three disease groups. An explicit goal of this program that its training opportunities and benefits will extend beyond the relatively few Scholars whose stipends it will provide, into the larger respiratory biology community at our University and in Chicago, and to young scientists pursuing omics/informatics approaches to common, complex diseases whose principal target organs are other than the lung (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, etc). We expect that at least 7 Scholars will be trained in this program, which leverages extensive data collections and other research and training resources already available at the University, and brings faculty into the study of respiratory disease who had not previously worked in this area.
The recent availability of vast collections of information about various biological and even non-biological aspects of life has made it possible to discern new insights about the nature of disease and to infer what might be successful new therapeutic approaches. Senior faculty from the University of Chicago here pro- pose an intensive career development program to rapidly train junior faculty scientists in the application of these approaches to the study of respiratory disease.