The enclosed proposal presents a revised training program in genetics at UC Berkeley. The program spans four separate administrative units on the Berkeley campus: the Departments of Molecular &Cell Biology (MCB), Plant &Molecular Biology (PMB), Integrative Biology (IB), and the School of Public Health (PH). The program includes 43 training faculty, all prominent researchers in their respective areas of study (10 are members of the National Academy of Sciences). Training faculty represent three major areas of genetics research: developmental genetics, cell &systems-level analysis, and population genetics &evolution. Funds are requested to support the research activities of 15 graduate student trainees (per year) in genetics-oriented laboratories located within the four aforementioned administrative units. Trainees will be appointed by a steering committee composed of prominent faculty from each of the participating administrative units. This committee is also responsible for renewing the appointments of training faculty and appointing new faculty to the training program. In addition, the committee will review the efficacy of the training program by soliciting comments from past and present trainees and faculty. A number of mechanisms have been established to ensure that the proposed genetics training program offers a unique educational experience that is distinct from other programs on the Berkeley campus, such as genomics, cell &molecular biology, and immunology. First, genetics trainees are required to present their current research findings at an annual retreat that is restricted to trainees and their mentors. Second, all trainees will be required to enroll in at least one advanced genetics course, such as MCB 240. Third, all trainees are required to attend the annual Genetics, Genomics, and Development (GGD) retreat regardless of their departmental affiliations. And fourth, all trainees must participate in at least one additional genetics-oriented forum, such as the weekly GGD seminar series or regularly scheduled journal clubs and research meetings focused on topics in genetic analysis. A variety of outreach strategies will be employed to ensure that members of under- represented minorities, women, and disabled or otherwise disadvantaged students are given the opportunity to obtain training in this program and thereby gain access to the wonderful world of genetics.
Our genes shape who we are. Our health, our susceptibility to disease, and our response to medicines are all affected by our genes. The training of scientists with a firm foundation in formal genetic analysis is essential for understanding how our genes contribute to health and disease.
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