This proposal is a competitive renewal of a successful and established predoctoral training program whose objective is to broadly train high quality research scientists in basic genetic approaches to the study of biology at the molecular, cellular, organismal, and population level. Funds are requested to support eight trainees each year. Students enter the training program upon admission to the Department of Genetics based on merit and potential for success in scientific careers. Students are rigorously trained in cuttin-edge genetic and biochemical research and data analysis through laboratory research, classes, and attendance at seminars. In addition, they gain written and oral communication skills through preliminary and qualifying examinations;presentations in an annual seminar class, at lab meetings and journal clubs;attendance at national and international meetings;and preparation of manuscripts for publication. Students obtain teaching experience through a requirement to serve as teaching assistants in undergraduate introductory genetics or evolutionary biology for at least one semester in their second or third year. During their first year, students complete three laboratory research rotations as well as participate in lecture courses. All students are required to take at least one course in each of the three broad areas of molecular genetics, genomics and population genetics. The unusual breadth of genetics that students are exposed to throughout their training is a major strength of the program. At the end of their first year, students enter the lab where they will do their dissertation research, choosing from 33 training faculty in nine departments representing a very wide range of genetic disciplines. In years 2-5, students also enroll in seminars, advanced electives and special topics courses. To insure that students complete degree requirements in a timely manner, progress is monitored twice yearly, once by the Graduate Affairs Committee and once by students'dissertation committees. Written and oral examinations and major courses are normally completed by the end of the fifth semester. Graduates from this training program over the past 35+ years have been highly successful in careers in academia, government, and industry. The training program is dynamic and will continue to produce broadly trained leaders in genetics as it embraces the exciting genetic developments of the 21st Century.
This project provides funds to annually support eight Ph.D. students in the field of genetics. It will considerably strengthen the entire graduate program in Genetics at its host institution, the University of Georgia. It will also contribute to public healh in the U.S. by helping train scientists with an exceptionally broad background that includes molecular, population and genomic approaches to genetics.
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