This proposal is seeking continued support, via an institutional training grant, for a training program for pre- and postdoctoral fellows who will pursue research careers that focus on the study of genetic influences on substance abuse. The IBG faculty is distinguished and active in research and IBG scientists have actively pursued studies of genetic influences on substance abuse for over 45 years. Major substance abuse-related research projects are now in progress in both human and animal behavior genetics. The application of biometrical, statistical, and quantitative genetic techniques, together with bioinformatics, genome-wide analyses and next generation sequencing, and epigenetics, is providing real advances in our understanding. Neurochemical, neuropharmacological, neurophysiological, and molecular genetic studies, are providing an understanding of gene function related to behavior. Major research projects are now in progress in both human and animal behavior genetics, including large scale national collaborative studies amassing DNA repositories and rich phenotypic data sets available for studies of substance abuse. Facilities are available for genotype assay, including genome-wide assays, gene function and expression studies, and behavioral, biochemical, and neurophysiological studies. Funds are requested to support 4 predoctoral and 2 postdoctoral trainees. Predoctoral trainees receive doctorate degrees from a cooperating academic unit and certification in behavior genetics. Academic requirements in the training program include training in behavior genetics, quantitative and biometrical genetics, theoretical and computer-based statistics, molecular genetics, neuroscience, bioinformatics and genomics, responsible conduct of research, and courses on behavioral and clinical phenotypes. Additional requirements vary according to the degree granting academic unit. Research experience is an integral part of training. Postdoctoral trainees also pursue a formalized program that emphasizes individual research as well as competence in molecular and quantitative behavior genetics. Other activities in preparation for research careers in substance abuse include: supervision of students and/or technicians, hosting of seminar speakers, guest lecturing, a weekly journal club, and mandatory training in the responsible conduct of research and the development of individual professional plans.
This proposal is to train scientists who will be able to contribute significantly to our understanding of genetic contributions to the vulnerability to develop substance abuse. This understanding will lead to new approaches to the prevention and alleviation of substance abuse.
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