The Predoctoral Genetics Training Program (GTP) is an interdisciplinary program that provides enriched genetics education for students receiving their Ph. D. degrees in six participating departments: Biological Chemistry, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB), Human Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB) and Pharmacology. Our goal is to train investigators who can apply disciplinary expertise to the new research opportunities of the genomic era. The GTP includes 68 faculty members and 22 current trainees. Twenty seven Ph. D. degrees were completed during the past 5 years. During the current funding period, the curriculum was updated to expand training in computational and quantitative biology and addition of an Individual Development Plan for incoming students. Ongoing research projects range from microbial and viral gene regulation to yeast, plant, fly, worm, mouse and human genetics and genomics. Students are usually supported for their second and third years of graduate study, and participate in training activities that generate significant group interaction. Fourth and fift year students continue to participate in monthly research seminars, the annual retreat, and other training grant events such as meeting with invited speakers. Most of our graduates have gone on to productive research careers in academia, industry, and scientific organizations. Trainees benefit from a University environment that is strongly oriented towards graduate education, with a large and interactive research community that is among the top ten in NIH funding. University-supported core laboratories facilitate trainees'research by providing access to state of the art technology including transgenic models, NextGen sequencing, genotyping, and large scale analysis of gene expression. The GTP curriculum includes formal coursework in genetics, bioinformatics and quantitative biology as well as interactive seminars, with three courses specifically directed towards this group of students. Each year, trainees select three outstanding geneticists from outside the University to lecture on an area of interest, which is also the topic for a semester-long student seminar course. Our annual retreat features an invited keynote speaker and oral and poster presentations by current and former trainees. The GTP, one of the oldest NIH-supported training programs, continues to be a vital component of graduate education and training at the University of Michigan.
Rapid advances in DNA sequencing and other genomic technologies are having a major impact on human health and our understanding of biology from the simplest organisms to human populations. There is a growing need for scientists with interdisciplinary training and sophisticated understanding of genetics to apply these powerful new tools in the most productive directions. The Predoctoral Genetics Training Program provides intensive genetics education to graduate students receiving their primary training in other biomedical fields from pharmacology to microbiology and evolutionary biology. These students will be well prepared to take advantage of new opportunities for improvement of human health and medical therapies through the application of genetics.
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