We seek support to continue our program of graduate student training in Genetics and Development (G&D) at Cornell University. Genetics is a fundamental and exciting approach to study the mechanisms that underlie inheritance, mutation, genome organization, disease penetrance, gene regulation, population structure, and evolution. This approach provides powerful analytical tools that can be applied to Developmental Biology, our second emphasis. The last five years has been especially productive for G&D Trainers. Papers from our Trainers include high-impact genomic and quantitative trait analyses in addition to a large number of elegant genetic and developmental genetic studies. Our Trainers are connecting results obtained in basic model systems to human health and disease, including diabetes, cancer syndromes, fertility and metabolic syndromes, and are using models for regenerative therapies and human development. In addition, students in G&D Trainer labs, averaging 3.8 papers per completed Ph.D., are making significant headway in understanding how rare alleles can contribute to disease in the human population and are tackling genetic interactions that underlie human disease. Our program, universally viewed as being distinct from other graduate training programs and training grants on campus, has developed a strong curriculum that serves students and faculty across campus. G&D Trainers are energetic, well-funded ($358,800 in annual direct costs/trainer), and highly collaborative, and are leaders of four critical centers in the Life Sciences at Cornell. We continue to attract outstanding graduate students (44% acceptance rate of high quality students in a very competitive environment) and have increased our efforts and maintained our success at recruiting minority students. We continue to evaluate our curriculum and are currently fine tuning coursework in quantitative biology and ethical issues and responsibilities. We constantly ask for feedback from our students on all aspects of our program. Our students are being employed in genetics and development fields after graduation and are taking advantage of career advice through coursework and mentoring. Over the next five years with hiring in the life sciences at Cornell resulting from impending retirements and the addition of new geneticists in the Weill Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, we anticipate continued growth of active young trainers in the Field. The financial and programmatic support provided by this training grant has been crucial to the growth and success of our program. Only with continued support will we be able to continue and improve our record of training first- rate scientists.
The Cornell University Genetics and Development Training Program connects results obtained in basic model systems to human health and disease, including diabetes, cancer syndromes, fertility and metabolic syndromes. Our students and Trainers also study models for regenerative therapies and human development.
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