Human genetics has emerged over the past 50 years as a dominant force in biology and medicine. This critical position stems not only from its central importance in explaining the most basic biological processes, but also from its growing repertoire of critical technologies and methods that can elucidate molecular, cellular, organismal, and population biology. A remarkable change in biomedical science is now underway with human genetics revolutionizing the paradigms for understanding human traits and treating human disease. We have entered the Genomic Era where the information generated from once disparate subfields (e.g. molecular genetics, model organisms, genetic epidemiology) is being integrated and is spawning new understanding of the underlying mechanisms of disease. Indeed, genetic subfield identities are quickly blurring as investigators take advantage of multiple approaches toward human genetic discovery. Thus it is incumbent upon us to train the next generation of human geneticists to take advantage of this developing synergy. This continuation of our Training Program in Human Genetics requests eight training slots. It builds upon the substantial increase in resources, faculty, facilities, and expertise in human genetics at Vanderbilt over the past ten years. We have greatly expanded the number of students in the Human Genetics Ph.D. Program from its inception in 2005 and our graduates are beginning to move into faculty positions. Our goal is to train future investigators to characterize genetic variation and understand its phenotypic implications in humans. Vanderbilt has particular strengths in statistical and computational genetics, genetic epidemiology, clinical, and molecular genetics, and model systems of human disease. All students will undergo a rigorous didactic program and intensive research training. We have enhanced this program with regular seminars, journal clubs, the annual genetics symposium, a vigorous student association, and two retreats per year. In addition students will gain formal exposure to the clinical application and ethical implications of their work through an applied genetics rotation, as we believe it is critical that students in human genetics understand the implications of their work.
Human genetics has emerged as a dominant force in the biomedical sciences in part because of stunning technological progress. In this genomic era it is critical that we train the next generation of human geneticists who can integrate the core science of human genetics into biomedical investigations. We request eight training slots to accommodate the substantial increase in the number of students in our successful program.
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