We are currently in the midst of a genetics revolution that promises to push "breakthrough" biomedical research to new levels. A large part of this revolution depends upon the analysis of the relationships between genes, environment and the effects of these interactions on complex biological systems and phenotypes. Investigators must become increasingly skilled in the use of mathematical, computational and statistical tools to address a variety of important biological questions. Similarly, scientists with mathematical or computational backgrounds who wish to apply their skills to some of these complex problems will need to develop a deeper understanding of the biological principles involved. This course was initially offered in 2000 and has continued to focus on current approaches used to address the analysis of complex genetic traits both in humans and other model systems. It is designed for biologists requiring training in the use of mathematical, computational and statistical tools as well as for scientists with mathematical or computational backgrounds that wish to develop a deeper understanding of contemporary biological problems in genetics. The overall goal of this course is to train new scientists and re-train established investigators in the use of mathematical tools for the analysis of complex phenotypes and systems. Those completing the course will acquire a critical working knowledge of experimental approaches to: (1) QTL analysis, (2) microarray analysis, (3) statistical methodology (Bayesian methods, causal inference), (4) gene expression networks and co-expression analysis, and (5) bio-informatics and software tools for database "mining".
These aims will be, accomplished by an intensive 6-day course to be offered in the Fall of each year at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor Maine. Students will be chosen for their outstanding research potential in fields relevant to the course and will interact with a group of prominent computational biologists, bio-informaticists, biologists and geneticists both from The Jackson Laboratory and other institutions. Student enrollment is kept deliberately small (30) to achieve a desirable level of student-faculty interaction. Didactic sessions will be held in the mornings, while the afternoon and evening sessions will be reserved for hands-on training workshops and special lectures.
TO PUBLIC HEALTH Most human diseases are complex, resulting from interactions between multiple genetic loci. This course trains investigators in how to apply mathematical tools to the understanding of complex human disease, setting the stage for drug discovery and eventually new therapeutic approaches to human disease.