We propose to continue and expand the impact of 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. Additionally, the SING program builds a support network for indigenous scholars in the STEM fields. We expand the impact of the SING short course by having additional venues of the SING short course at universities with established research programs involving indigenous peoples and genomics in different geographic regions of the United States. Parts of the SING short course will be tailored to specific issues of indigenous peoples of the geographic region and will take advantage of the expertise of faculty of the host institutions. Specifically, we propose to convene the SING short course at the University of Arizona in 2017 with a specialized module on cancer genomics and precision health, the University of Washington in 2018 with a specialized module in pharmacogenomics and then back at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a specialized module in transcriptomics and epigenetics. The expertise of the SING faculty and resources available at the host universities provide enriching environments to educate Native American students and tackle important problems of genomics with indigenous communities. Our unique short course with significant hands-on training in molecular biology, bioinformatics and ELSI strategies transform education for underrepresented minorities in the scientific community. This program will continue to be empirically evaluated and continue 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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