This proposal seeks continued and increased support for graduate training in genetics and genomics in the Duke University Program in Genetics and Genomics, a unique program that is degree granting and currently encompasses 110 faculty and 82 students and bridging basic and clinical departments in the School of Medicine and the College of Arts and Sciences, including a diverse array of faculty. The program includes faculty and students in the Departments of Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Immunology, Medicine, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MGM), Pathology, Pediatrics, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, and Radiation Oncology in the Medical Center and from the departments of Biology and Chemistry in the School of Arts and Sciences. Research foci span traditional and molecular genetics, model systems (bacteria, yeast, drosophila, nematode, and zebra fish), plant biology, human genetics, developmental biology, population genetics and genome sciences. Students apply directly to the program for graduate training at Duke, most from undergraduate programs in the biological or physical sciences. Admissions are based on GRE scores, GPA, letters of recommendation, research interests and experience and an interview at Duke. During the first program year, students attend courses, rotate in labs and meet with the first year advisory committee. At the conclusion of the first year, students choose a lab and thesis advisor, and ultimately receive their degree via the program or, alternatively, through the host department. Since 2002, and the coinciding with the completion of the first draft of the Human Genome reference sequence assembly, the genetics program was expanded to include genome sciences in a joint program that is now called the Duke University Program in Genetics and Genomics (UPGG). Our seminar series, called The Tuesday Seminar Series, has been expanded to the full academic year with additional support coming from various genomics centers and institutes at Duke. We have launched and established the Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series to complement the genetics and genomics seminar series, and this program has run annually for the past seven years and brought a cadre of exemplary visionary speakers to speak with our faculty and student body. We have also instituted a program retreat organized and conducted by the students that has been held annually over the past seven years, and which has contributed considerably to promote a community of inspired and engaged scholars. The program is administered by the Director (Douglas Marchuk), Co-director (Beth Sullivan), Director of Graduate Studies (Allison Ashley-Koch), Admissions Director (Simon Gregory), and the Executive Committee. Currently the NIH provides support for 10 new students per year and Duke University via the Deans support five new students per year. Here we seek to expand the NIH supported portion of the training grant to a total of 12 new students per year.
For more than three decades, the Duke University Program in Genetics and Genomics (UPGG) has trained the next generation of scientists for careers in genetics and genomics. Our goal is to provide our students with a broad knowledge of the most recent advances and approaches in genetics and genomics, so that they can apply their knowledge to a diverse spectrum of research areas, all of which ultimately impact human health.
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