This is a renewal application for training grant support for the Predoctoral Genetics Training Program at the University of Pennsylvania. The goal of the program is to produce exceptional investigators and teachers in genetics who have a broad background in cell and molecular biology and particular expertise in genetics. The program brings together faculty from 11 different departments at the Schools of Medicine and Arts and Sciences, as well as the Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, the Wistar Institute and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. The combination of a research-oriented medical school and a strong university base provides an excellent environment for graduate education. The program obtains substantial financial support from Biomedical Graduate Studies, an institutional organization that coordinates student recruitment and oversight for many graduate groups. The Genetics and Gene Regulation (GGR) Program is part of the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Group, a multidisciplinary Graduate Group that administers the broad core curriculum for our predoctoral trainees. Within the CAMS framework, the GGR Program offers advanced coursework and research training in genetics, and program-specific activities such as seminars, journal cubs and social events. After coursework is completed, the student must pass an oral preliminary exam that consists of a defense of a written thesis research proposal and covers general genetic knowledge. The student then carries out a significant genetics research project under the direction of a laboratory mentor and the advice of a thesis committee. New enhancements initiated within the last four years include increased emphasis on quantitative genetics, a human genetics seminar course, joint courses and activities with the Genomics and Computational Biology graduate group, a GGR-wide requirement to speak annually in the Genetics Research-in-Progress seminar series, and increased emphasis on minority student recruitment. Students are selected for two years of training grant support after they have completed coursework, selected a thesis lab and passed their Preliminary exam. Thus, we support students who are highly motivated to carry out genetic research. We propose to continue this program at its current size of 8 predoctoral trainees per year. Relevance: Genetic changes underlie many human health problems, and genetic information is an increasingly common part of medicine, biomedical research and our everyday lives. Now more than ever it is important to train young scientists to be geneticists who can understand the fundamental principles involved, and who know not only how to use sophisticated genetic tools and technologies, but also how to interpret the results.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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National Institute of General Medical Sciences Initial Review Group (BRT)
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Haynes, Susan R
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University of Pennsylvania
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