The annual Short Course on the Genetics of Addiction proposed in this application will provide students with an opportunity to learn about genetic applications and approaches to drug addiction research. The methodological instruction includes examples, literature and data sets drawn from studies of addiction-related phenotypes, plenary sessions on major progress in addiction genetics, and discussion sessions in which students each present their work on applications of genetic methods, and discuss general questions provoked by the lectures. Students will leave the course able to design and interpret genetic and genomic studies of addiction as they relate to their specific research question, and to utilize current online data resources to support their research.
These aims will be accomplished annually over the next three years through an intensive four-day course to be offered in late summer at the Jackson Laboratory (JAX) in Bar Harbor, Maine. In 2014, the course will be held August 29 through September 1, with arrivals and a reception on August 28 and departures on September 2. Participants will be chosen for their outstanding research potential in fields relevant to the course and will have the opportunity to interact with a group o prominent computational biologists, bioinformaticists, biologists, and geneticists from JAX and other institutions. A combination of didactic sessions and hands-on training will be offered during the day and informal discussions will be held in the evening. Student enrollment is kept deliberately small (35) to achieve a desirable level of student-faculty interaction. Food and lodging will be provided at the JAX-owned Highseas Conference Center, which creates an atmosphere highly conducive to interactions between students and faculty. A major emphasis will be placed on attracting promising young investigators to participate in this course and to actively promote the inclusion of women and under- represented minorities in an effort to promote diversity in the professoriate.
Evidence from human genetic analyses and from animal models suggests that susceptibility to addiction has a moderate to high heritable component. This course will offer training in how to leverage genetic and genomic resources to understand these components and their role in human addiction.