This application proposes to significantly expand and strengthen interdisciplinary training in Bioinformatics at the University of Iowa. Bioinformatics at Iowa has been built from the ground up for the last decade. This long organic development process has led to an unusually rich cross-disciplinary environment in which there are stakeholders from 5 Colleges and many departments and academic programs. Each of these programs has been actively pursuing Bioinformatics in the context of highest quality Biomedical and Basic Life Science Research. A University-wide Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Informatics (IGPI) formally offers a PhD certificate in Bioinformatics which imposes uniform standards for students across all departments of the graduate college - thus allowing students from a number of traditional allied disciplines to meet in the context of this rapidly expanding field. Matching funds and additional financial support for this program is being provided by the Ul Graduate College, College of Engineering and College of Medicine. The grant will support PhD training in Bioinformatics by integrating curriculum, rotations, and opportunities for cooperative traineeships and internships with partners in industry. Curricular components include bioscience, informatics, and bioinformatics as both required and elective elements. These well-established courses assure foundational expertise in the basic life and biomedical sciences, computational, mathematical, and statistical disciplines, as well as courses that integrate Science with Informatics to demonstrate the nature of the Bioinformatics discipline. Students will earn a rigorous certificate credential in Bioinformatics while also earning a PhD in a traditional discipline such as Genetics, Molecular Biology, Computer Science, Engineering, etc. This unique approach guarantees that those trained by this program will be excellent Bioinformaticists, who will be able to engage in interdisciplinary research in their future careers. Students will choose co-mentors from an initial collection of 40 mentors from 18 departments in 5 colleges. A number of strong existing programs for recruitment of underrepresented minorities are an integral part of this project plan. The nominal length of training will be 5 years per student;at least 2 new trainees will be recruited in each of the 5 years of the grant.
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