This proposal is to develop a UCLA summer undergraduate research experience (R25) in Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) analysis. NGS has revolutionized the field of genomics and is increasingly permeating all aspects of biosciences research and medicine. This development has triggered a huge need for data analysis skills among researchers and professionals. As biosciences graduate programs and biomedical professional schools are rapidly adapting their curricula towards a greater emphasis on quantitative analysis skills, it has become apparent that the current pool of applicants who have an understanding and hands-on experience in quantitative analysis of `omic datasets remains exceedingly shallow. Indeed, without prior computational biosciences research experience it is difficult to evaluate applicants for their aptitude in quantitative analysis skill. In this post-genome era of biosciences research, a lack of aptitude in quantitative analysis skills will hamper graduate students and biomedical researchers through their careers. The proposed research education plan will address the need for an applicant pool with the hands-on experience in genomics analysis necessary to be successful in either graduate or professional schools. Specifically this new R25 program will leverage existing infrastructure that provides such an experience through workshops in NGS analysis: the Bruins in Genomics (BIG-SUMMER) program of the UCLA Quantitative and Computational Biology Institute (QCB). The new R25 program will enable UCLA to provide undergraduates, recruited nationally, with a specialized summer experience focused on neuropsychiatric genomics (BIG-NPG). BIG-NPG will combine the NGS workshops of the QCB with individual mentored research projects and journal clubs overseen by faculty in the UCLA Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics (CNG). These faculty are investigating the genetic and genomic basis of neuropsychiatric disorders through several collaborative NIMH grants. These projects will offer the undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct analyses on exceptional datasets covering a wide range of NGS applications (including whole genome sequencing, transcriptome sequencing, and epigenome sequencing). Participating in the program will enable students to gain a potentially career defining research experience in the genomics of neuropsychiatric disease.
Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is revolutionizing the field of Genomics and increasingly permeating all aspects of biosciences research and medicine. This development has triggered a huge need for data analysis skills among researchers and professionals. This proposal aims to help fill this need: leveraging existing infrastructure at UCLA developed for the 'Bruins in Genomics' summer undergraduate research program (BIG- Summer), it will provide a potentially career defining summer research experience in the genomics of neuropsychiatric disease (BIG-NPG).