The Developmental Genetics (DG) Training Program at New York University joins faculty from two different entities within the NYU system, the Department of Biology and the School of Medicine (SoM). The goal of the DG Program is to enhance and broaden the research perspective given to students with strong interest in Developmental Genetics. Developmental Genetics has become one of the most successful and exciting disciplines in biology. Due to the extensive conservation of the molecular mechanisms that control development, discoveries in different model organisms produce a synergistic expansion of knowledge that is often directly relevant to human health. A long-term goal of this program is to seed an interactive environment that combines research in the basic principles of developmental genetics with an understanding of the molecular mechanisms that are affected by disease. This goal is enhanced by the proximity of the training site to a vibrant Medical Center. The Program currently consists of a group of 40 faculty members, who are using molecular, cellular and genetic approaches to study embryonic development in a variety of organisms (Arabidopsis, Drosophila, C. elegans, mouse, zebrafish, Ciona, yeast and bacteria). This program receives strong support from NYUSoM and the NYU Biology Department, which provide state of the art facilities and recruit first-rate faculty at all levels. Aggressive recruitment efforts by the open graduate programs at the Sackler School of Graduate studies at NYUSoM and the Department of Biology at NYU have attracted high-caliber graduate students including underrepresented minority students. 43 students graduated from the program during the last funding period and are now pursuing careers in Science and Medicine. The program currently has 42 students, and four of these students are supported by this training grant. Four positions for graduate student training (PhD and MD/PhD) are requested. Training in the DG program includes (a) rigorous research training in the laboratories of DG faculty members, (b) a two- semester lecture and laboratory course in developmental biology, (c) broad education in the principles of biochemistry, genetics and cell biology, (d) opportunity for extended training in stem cell biology, computational biology and disease-oriented research, e) active participation in the Developmental Genetics seminar series and journal clubs, (f) a bi-annual Developmental Genetics Student Symposium, (g) discussion groups and lectures focusing on issues of ethical conduct in science and career options for biology graduates, (h) a three-tiered mentoring system consisting of a first-year faculty mentor, research advisor and thesis committee.
This training grant proposes to train graduate students in the principles of developmental biology. Using model organisms, such as mice, fish, or flies, students discover the principles that govern normal development including the role of stem cells in tissue growth, maintenance and regeneration. Due to broad evolutionary conservation of the genetic networks used during development and tissue homeostasis, these studies have a direct impact on our understanding of the mechanisms underlying disease.
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