We propose to establish a six-day summer short course on genomics for Native American college and university students with a background and interest in genomics. The short term goals of the program, entitled the Summer Internship for Native Americans in Genomics (SING), are to train Native American students in next-generation genomic and bioinformatics analyses and to build capacity for scientific research of Native American communities. The long term goal of SING is to produce the next generation of intellectual leaders who will define the expanding frontiers of genomic analysis with a specific focus on genomic research with indigenous communities. These goals will be accomplished via the SING program by creating an interdisciplinary learning environment with learners and instructors from diverse intellectual backgrounds and a curriculum that empowers Native American learners to take leadership roles in addressing current and future challenges of genomic research and sovereignty of Native American communities. The expertise of the SING faculty and resources available at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provide an ideal environment to educate Native American students to tackle important problems of genomics with indigenous communities. Our unique short course with significant hands-on training in molecular biology, bioinformatics and ELSI strategies will transform education for underrepresented minorities on our campus and in the scientific community generally. This program will be empirically evaluated to serve as a model for other institutions.
This project will help reduce the large bias that exists in research subjects and potential beneficiaries of public health. Most health related genomic studies are conducted on subjects of European descent and rare genetic variants from non- European individuals that contribute to disease are missed. A path forward is to increase indigenous research subjects in health related genomics by having indigenous scientists, who understand the concerns of the communities, lead future research.
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