This application seeks support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse R25 mechanism for pre-doctoral and postdoctoral research positions, infrastructure and workshops at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics (VIPBG) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). The overall goal of this research education program is to provide an environment for the innovative development and applications of statistical genetics methodology relevant to substance use, abuse and dependence (SUAD). Our research education program will be further developed with new courses in Statistical Innovation, Advanced Statistical Genetics, Epidemiology of Drug Abuse and Neuroscience to foster interdisciplinary research, a key component of NIDA's mission. The research education program consists of pre-doctoral and postdoctoral components. Pre-doctoral participants pursue degrees in Psychiatric, Behavioral and Statistical Genetics, Human & Molecular Genetics, Biostatistics or Computer Science. This component is designed to recruit potential future investigators to research in statistical genetics focused on SUAD.
The aim i s to create a cohort of PhD graduates who have been exposed to, and begun to publish research in, this area. The postdoctoral component recognizes that many promising researchers have training relevant to, but not focused on, the statistical genetics of SUAD. This flexible 2-3 year post-doctoral training component guides young investigators to this field of study and provides them with integrated training that enables them to pursue careers in statistical genetics of SUAD. Research education is intended for individuals with training in mathematics, statistics, biostatistics, genetics, psychology, computer science or pharmacology and to those who have completed their clinical requirements for the MD degree. The postdoctoral component aims to educate independent investigators who contribute to efforts to identify and characterize the genetic and environmental determinants of SUAD, its development, prevention and treatment. Accordingly we: i) Offer and carefully monitor a multidisciplinary integrated research training program with a wide range of research opportunities; ii) Meet the needs for training in emerging research areas in SUAD; iii) Provide formal education and intensive mentoring to researchers from diverse academic and ethnic backgrounds; iv) Offer a specialized curriculum that merges strengths in SUAD research at our institution with training in methodological innovation; and v) Disseminate course materials, developed software, user guides and example scripts to the wider community by teaching workshops and maintaining a website with webcasts, podcasts and script libraries.
This R25 will provide continued support for the research education of three pre-doctoral and three postdoctoral participants studying statistical methods for genetic studies of substance use abuse and dependence. The Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University is the center for a wide array of statistical methodology and applied substance abuse research projects. Faculty will mentor project participants in the development of novel methods to meet the tremendous data analytic challenges being posed by new technologies such as next generation sequencing and neuroimaging.
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