Continued support is requested for a predoctoral training program in Genetics at the University of Oregon. The primary objective of the Genetics Training Program is to prepare scientists for productive careers at the forefront of modern genetics, whether it be in an academic, corporate, or governmental context.
We aim to (i) train students to become creative, rigorous, and experimentally skilled scientists with a deep and broad understanding of gene function and heredity; (ii) teach students to communicate science effectively to the lay public, professional colleagues, and students in the classroom; and (iii) prepare students to bring this expertise into the workforce by offering diverse opportunities to develop professional skills. Funds are requested for 9 predoctoral trainee positions within a program that includes 25 training faculty, ~45 predoctoral students and ~40 postdoctoral fellows. The program brings together students and faculty from three research institutes (Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Ecology & Evolution) and two Departments (Biology, Chemistry & Biochemistry). Our program includes groups with expertise in evolution, genomics, bioinformatics, biochemistry, and development. A robust collaborative spirit is fostered by the overlapping research interests of training faculty, our diversity of technical expertise, the close proximity of our laboratories, and a culture that places a high value on interaction and cooperation. The faculty have strong funding and publication records, and excellent track records of training students who go on to productive careers in the biomedical sciences. Recent hires have shifted our group toward younger faculty using state-of- the-art imaging, genomic, and quantitative approaches, and coalesced strengths in vertebrate genetics, host- microbe interactions, and genome function. Although we maintain a strength in basic research, the research of training faculty has increasingly focused on topics that are directly relevant to human health. These include the use of mouse and zebrafish to model human disorders, and the effects of microbiota on vertebrate development and disease. Practical research training under the mentorship of first-rate scientists provides the backbone of our program. We ensure a solid intellectual foundation by requiring trainees to take coursework in three core areas (molecular, developmental, and evolutionary genetics) and in Biological Statistics. We surround the lab and coursework with a wealth of broadening experiences, including teaching, student research talks, journal clubs, and career development workshops. Trainees become experienced science communicators through regular journal club presentations and seminars on their thesis research. An involved Thesis Committee and annual Individual Development Plans ensure active mentoring and fulfilling graduate training experiences that prepare students to become next generation scientific leaders.

Public Health Relevance

This predoctoral training program prepares students to become next generation leaders in the area of modern genetics. Our program provides research-focused training on topics that underlie human development, physiology, and disease, including mechanisms of gene function, gene regulation, and heredity. Our training program includes research and coursework on fundamental genetic mechanisms, as well as on vertebrate models of human genetic disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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NIGMS Initial Review Group (TWD)
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Bender, Michael T
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University of Oregon
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United States
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Clark, Matthew Q; Zarin, Aref Arzan; Carreira-Rosario, Arnaldo et al. (2018) Neural circuits driving larval locomotion in Drosophila. Neural Dev 13:6
Kasimatis, Katja R; Moerdyk-Schauwecker, Megan J; Timmermeyer, Nadine et al. (2018) Proteomic and evolutionary analyses of sperm activation identify uncharacterized genes in Caenorhabditis nematodes. BMC Genomics 19:593
Loes, Andrea N; Bridgham, Jamie T; Harms, Michael J (2018) Coevolution of the Toll-Like Receptor 4 Complex with Calgranulins and Lipopolysaccharide. Front Immunol 9:304
Stagaman, Keaton; Cepon-Robins, Tara J; Liebert, Melissa A et al. (2018) Market Integration Predicts Human Gut Microbiome Attributes across a Gradient of Economic Development. mSystems 3:
Troll, Joshua V; Hamilton, M Kristina; Abel, Melissa L et al. (2018) Microbiota promote secretory cell determination in the intestinal epithelium by modulating host Notch signaling. Development 145:
Kasimatis, Katja R; Moerdyk-Schauwecker, Megan J; Phillips, Patrick C (2018) Auxin-Mediated Sterility Induction System for Longevity and Mating Studies in Caenorhabditis elegans. G3 (Bethesda) 8:2655-2662
Carreira-Rosario, Arnaldo; Zarin, Aref Arzan; Clark, Matthew Q et al. (2018) MDN brain descending neurons coordinately activate backward and inhibit forward locomotion. Elife 7:
Jamieson, Kirsty; McNaught, Kevin J; Ormsby, Tereza et al. (2018) Telomere repeats induce domains of H3K27 methylation in Neurospora. Elife 7:
Kasimatis, Katja R; Phillips, Patrick C (2018) Rapid Gene Family Evolution of a Nematode Sperm Protein Despite Sequence Hyper-conservation. G3 (Bethesda) 8:353-362
Borne, Flora; Kasimatis, Katja R; Phillips, Patrick C (2017) Quantifying male and female pheromone-based mate choice in Caenorhabditis nematodes using a novel microfluidic technique. PLoS One 12:e0189679

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