Human and Mammalian Genetics and Genomics: the McKusick Short Course, developed through a six- decade long partnership between Johns Hopkins University and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), trains the next generation of basic research and medical genetics professionals. The McKusick Short Course is purposefully an intense, two-week program that covers human and mouse genetic and genomics processes and the mechanisms of human disease. The course offers ~45 lectures, 10 workshops and eight evening lectures over a 12-day period, uniquely providing medical genetics, mouse genetics, and ethical, legal and social implications of genomics content training. The content delivered by the short course would normally be covered by one or many more graduate-level, semester-long university courses. With graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty from U.S. universities being the dominant audience, the course attracts ~115 trainees each year. JAX leverages valuable scholarship funds from the NIH, the March of Dimes, and a HHMI Advanced Courses grant to allow accepted underrepresented minority (URM) trainees to attend the course without any registration or housing fee. Moreover JAX is committed to expanding the participation of URM participants and faculty beyond the sixteen percent who have participated in the last four years. Both faculty and trainee participants make important connections at the course, leading to postdoctoral fellowships, research collaborations, and creation of important academic networks. Going forward the course also will have a larger impact through webcasting of lectures and seminars. The overall goal of the McKusick Short Course is to train young scientists in medical and experimental genetics and genomics such that participants can become the next generation of biomedical research leaders and clinician scientists.
Most human diseases are complex, resulting from interactions between genetic loci. Human and Mammalian Genetics and Genomics: the McKusick Short Course will train a cadre of highly skilled, diverse young scientists. With a combined focus on medical genetics and mouse genetics and model systems the course will forge a link between basic and clinical research enabling ongoing dialogue and thereby fostering productive clinical outcomes.