The Cell and Molecular Genetics (CMG) Training Program at the University of California, San Diego is currently in its 38th year. This program is a cornerstone of the PhD program in the biological sciences at UCSD, as it trains the best graduate students from the Biological Sciences/Salk and Chemistry/Biochemistry PhD programs. The CMG Training Program mission is to provide rigorous training for PhD students interested in the molecular mechanisms of a diverse array of biological phenomena. Specific emphasis is placed upon the creativity, quality, and impact of the research, the ethical conduct of research, the achievement of racial diversity among researchers, the ability of the trainees to communicate their results effectively, and the promotion of cooperation and collaboration among scientists. The CMG Program Director is Dr. Randolph Hampton, Professor of Biological Sciences since 1995. Dr. Hampton works closely with Executive Director Dr. Amy Pasquinelli, and the CMG Advisory Committee that consists of Drs. Deborah Yelon, James Kadonaga, Lorraine Pillus, Partho Ghosh, Gentry Patrick, Reuben Shaw, Roy Wollman, and Scott Rifkin. There are currently 114 training faculty, most of them from the UCSD Division of Biological Sciences, the Salk Institute, and the UCSD Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The CMG Training Program provides training for 33 outstanding Ph.D. students during years 2 and 3 of their training. Trainees are selected from a current pool of about 220 qualified students that are part of the PhD degree/entry programs in the UCSD Division of Biological Sciences and the UCSD Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The trainees fulfill the general requirements of their respective degree/entry programs, and additionally participate in CMG- specific activities, which include a class called Advances in Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms, a biannual CMG Trainee Research Colloquium, choosing and hosting CMG-Invited Biology Division Seminar speakers, an annual White Board Jam (to hone non-digital exposition), the annual One Book, One Program reading and discussion of a science-related book, an IDP workshop, a Path-to-Career workshop, and annual One-on-One Conferences with the Program Director. Over the past 10 years, more than 100 CMG trainees have successfully completed their Ph.D. theses, contributing an enormous wealth of important knowledge in nearly 500 publications. The Biological Sciences continues to grow dramatically, and we envision the implementation of an ever stronger CMG Training Program over the next five years.

Public Health Relevance

The CMG Program trains a select group of graduate students in the molecular mechanisms of diverse biological phenomena. These phenomena include aging, wound healing, nerve regeneration, resistance to infectious disease, cancer, drought stress in plants, biofuel strategies, and many others. This training program generates the scientific talent base that is required for informed improvements in human health and society.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Training and Workforce Development Subcommittee - D (TWD)
Program Officer
Gindhart, Joseph G
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University of California San Diego
Schools of Arts and Sciences
La Jolla
United States
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Jaeger, Philipp A; Ornelas, Lilia; McElfresh, Cameron et al. (2018) Systematic Gene-to-Phenotype Arrays: A High-Throughput Technique for Molecular Phenotyping. Mol Cell 69:321-333.e3
Chan, Russell T; Peters, Jessica K; Robart, Aaron R et al. (2018) Structural basis for the second step of group II intron splicing. Nat Commun 9:4676
Welkie, David G; Rubin, Benjamin E; Chang, Yong-Gang et al. (2018) Genome-wide fitness assessment during diurnal growth reveals an expanded role of the cyanobacterial circadian clock protein KaiA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115:E7174-E7183
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