This is a proposal to renew a highly focused postdoctoral training program in Neurobehavioral Genetics. Elucidating the genetic basis of diseases ofthe nervous system promises to transform our understanding of some ofthe most prevalent, burdensome, and complex afflictions of humankind. The program bridges several longstanding dichotomies;betv /een nervous system mechanisms and behavior, between neurology and psychiatry/psychology, between diseases and non-disease traits, and between humans and model organisms. In particular, the program emphasizes the recruitment, and training in state ofthe art genetics, of individuals with backgrounds in neurology, psychiatry, and psychology, and also provides exposure to the science of neurobehavioral phenotyping to individuals with basic science backgrounds. The program stresses the importance of, and provides unified training in, systematic delineation and assessment of nervous system phenotypes, including the integration of traditional clinical and cognitive evaluations with recently available phenotyping tools such as neuroimaging and gene expression profiling. The core curriculum ofthe program emphasizes phenotyping ofthe nervous system and advanced genetics, and is designed to promote interactions between the postdoctoral fellows and their counterparts in a companion predoctoral program. Additional cohesion is provided by a neurogenetics seminar series and an annual program retreat. Intensive research experience with a mentor chosen by the trainee constitutes the heart of the program. The ambitious goals of the program are achievable because the program faculty is very strong in virtually all ofthe areas that are relevant to neurobehavioral genetics, and because the faculty members have long embraced, in their research and teaching, the integrative and cross-disciplinary approach that is at the heart of the program.
This grant is to train scientists to conduct genetic studies that will increase our understanding of the causation of - and specific brain abnormalities associated with- neurological and psychiatric diseases and traits related to them. These diseases affect millions of Americans. One of our best hopes of improving treatments or preventing these diseases is through investigations of genes and genetic variations - in humans and model organisms.
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