The objectives of the Predoctoral Training Program in Genetics and Development are: to provide a solid and broad education in genetics, including molecular genetics, developmental genetics, and human genetics, to provide rigorous training in scientific research, and to develop a scholarly, ethical and professional attitude in the trainees. The program emphasizes experimental skills and critical thinking, as well as written and oral presentation of ideas and research findings. We teach our students a rigorous scientific approach in the design of experiments and evaluation of data, and provide them with the tools to maintain the highest ethical standards in their work. We encourage students to give and receive constructive criticism and challenge them to be self-critical in order to become capable, independent scholars. The program aims to recruit 5-8 new trainees each year. The training grant supports eligible students in their first and second year and occasionally in later years on a competitive basis. The entire program typically consists of between 30 and 35 trainees at all stages of training and the duration of training is typically 6-6.5 years. A Training Committee consisting of five faculty oversees admissions and administration of the program and meets regularly with students. This committee monitors each student's progress through written reports of rotations, qualifying exams and thesis research advisory committees. Training consists of two years of didactic course work in prokaryotic and eukaryotic molecular genetics, biochemistry, developmental genetics, statistics, genetic approaches to biomedical problems, and responsible conduct in research. Three research rotations are done in the first year followed by research in a laboratory of choice. Students have a wide range of research opportunities across the entire Columbia University Medical Center campus as well as the main Columbia campus. A two-part qualifying examination in the second and third years takes the form of a research proposal that is defended in a written and oral examination, followed approximately 6 months later by a progress report, similarly defended in a written and oral examination. Students run their own internal seminar program and also participate in the regular departmental seminar series by inviting outside speakers. There is an annual departmental retreat where all trainees are expected to present their work either as a platform presentation or a poster. During the course of training there are milestones at which the MA and MPhil degrees are awarded. With the successful defense of a research thesis, the PhD degree is awarded.

Public Health Relevance

The main objective of this training program is to train the next generation of biomedical researchers in areas of genetics and developmental biology with special reference to genetic influences on human health, development and disease. The research training includes a variety of basic and diseases-related areas including cancer, diabetes, congenital defects, and heart, lung and kidney disease. Genetics is central to all of biology and the training program is guided by the principle that understanding the genetic control of development and physiology is a fundamental goal of biomedical research.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Training and Workforce Development Subcommittee - D (TWD)
Program Officer
Haynes, Susan R
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Columbia University (N.Y.)
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
Zip Code
Smith, Michael J; Bryant, Eric E; Rothstein, Rodney (2018) Increased chromosomal mobility after DNA damage is controlled by interactions between the recombination machinery and the checkpoint. Genes Dev 32:1242-1251
Rastogi, Chaitanya; Rube, H Tomas; Kribelbauer, Judith F et al. (2018) Accurate and sensitive quantification of protein-DNA binding affinity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115:E3692-E3701
Dugger, Sarah A; Platt, Adam; Goldstein, David B (2018) Drug development in the era of precision medicine. Nat Rev Drug Discov 17:183-196
Lau, Colleen M; Tiniakou, Ioanna; Perez, Oriana A et al. (2018) Transcription factor Etv6 regulates functional differentiation of cross-presenting classical dendritic cells. J Exp Med 215:2265-2278
Manterola, Marcia; Brown, Taylor M; Oh, Min Young et al. (2018) BRDT is an essential epigenetic regulator for proper chromatin organization, silencing of sex chromosomes and crossover formation in male meiosis. PLoS Genet 14:e1007209
Kirkling, Margaret E; Cytlak, Urszula; Lau, Colleen M et al. (2018) Notch Signaling Facilitates In Vitro Generation of Cross-Presenting Classical Dendritic Cells. Cell Rep 23:3658-3672.e6
Hirsch, Sophia M; Sundaramoorthy, Sriramkumar; Davies, Tim et al. (2018) FLIRT: fast local infrared thermogenetics for subcellular control of protein function. Nat Methods 15:921-923
Concepcion, Daniel; Hamada, Hiroshi; Papaioannou, Virginia E (2018) Tbx6 controls left-right asymmetry through regulation of Gdf1. Biol Open 7:
Billon, Pierre; Bryant, Eric E; Joseph, Sarah A et al. (2017) CRISPR-Mediated Base Editing Enables Efficient Disruption of Eukaryotic Genes through Induction of STOP Codons. Mol Cell 67:1068-1079.e4
O'Connor, Reed M; Stone, Elizabeth F; Wayne, Charlotte R et al. (2017) A Drosophila model of Fragile X syndrome exhibits defects in phagocytosis by innate immune cells. J Cell Biol 216:595-605

Showing the most recent 10 out of 97 publications