This institutional training grant is for training in the field of behavior genetics. The goals of behavior genetics are to elucidate the genetic and environmental components that regulate individual differences for a multitude of complex normal and abnormal phenotypes. Using multidisciplinary approaches, the genetic basis of psychopathologies, personality disorders, as well as normal cognition and personality, can be investigated. The application of biometrical, statistical, and quantitative genetic techniques and the development of quantitative trait loci methods allow the mapping and identification of genes that regulate complex traits. Information from such analyses, along with neurochemical, neuropharmacological, neurophysiological, and molecular genetic studies, will provide an understanding of gene function related to behavior. The Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG) at the University of Colorado has actively pursued the goals of behavior genetics for over 40 years. Its faculty is distinguished and active in research. Major research projects are now in progress in both human and animal behavior genetics, including large scale national collaborative studies amassing DNA repositories and rich phenotypic data sets for studies of mental health. Facilities are available for genotype assay, including genome-wide assays, gene function and expression studies, and behavioral, biochemical, and neurophysiological studies. Funds are requested to support 4 predoctoral and 1 postdoctoral trainee over a total period of 5 years. Predoctoral trainees receive doctorate degrees from a cooperating academic unit and certification in behavior genetics. Academic requirements in the training program include training in behavior genetics, quantitative and biometrical genetics, theoretical and computer-based statistics, molecular genetics, bioinformatics and genomics, responsible conduct of research, and courses on behavioral and clinical phenotypes. Additional requirements vary according to the degree granting academic unit. Research experience is an integral part of training. Postdoctoral trainees also pursue a formalized program that emphasizes individual research as well as competence in molecular and quantitative behavior genetics. Other activities in preparation for research careers in mental health include: supervision of students and/or technicians, hosting of seminar speakers, guest lecturing, a weekly journal club, and mandatory attendance in a course on the responsible conduct of research.
This proposal is to train scientists who will be able to contribute significantly to our understanding of genetic contributions to mental illness. This understanding will lead to new approaches to the prevention and alleviation of mental illness.
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