The annual Short Course on the Genetics of Addiction proposed in this application builds on the successes of the previous iteration of this Course and will provide students with an opportunity to learn about genetic applications and approaches to drug addiction research in humans and model organisms. The methodological instruction includes examples, literature and data sets drawn from studies of addiction-related phenotypes, plenary sessions on major progress in addiction genetics, and discussion sessions in which students each present their work on applications of genetic methods, and discuss general questions provoked by the lectures. Students will leave the course able to design and interpret genetic and genomic studies of addiction as they relate to their specific research question, to locate the opportunities and resources for extrapolation between human genetics and model organisms, and to utilize current online data resources to support their research.
These aims will be accomplished annually over the next five years through an intensive five-day course to be offered in late summer at the Jackson Laboratory (JAX) in Bar Harbor, Maine. In 2020, the course will be held September 20-26, with arrivals and a reception on September 20 and departures on September 26. Participants will be chosen for their outstanding research potential in fields relevant to the course and will have the opportunity to interact with a group of prominent computational biologists, bioinformaticists, biologists, and geneticists from JAX and other institutions. A combination of didactic sessions and hands-on training will be offered during the day and informal discussions will be held in the evening. Student enrollment is deliberately kept small (35) to achieve a desirable level of student-faculty interaction. Food and lodging will be provided at the JAX-owned Highseas Conference Center, which creates an atmosphere highly conducive to interactions between students and faculty. A major emphasis will be placed on attracting promising young investigators to participate in this course and to actively promote the inclusion of women and under-represented minorities in an effort to cultivate diversity in the professoriate.
Evidence from human genetic analyses and from animal models suggests that susceptibility to addiction has a moderate to high heritable component. This course will offer training in how to leverage genetic and genomic resources from multiple species to understand these components and their role in human addiction.