The overall goal of the RNA Fellows program is to rigorously train graduate students for careers in science and technology companies, science communication organizations, public service or academia. Our RNA Fellows will plan and execute RNA centric research projects and actively participate in year-long business plan competitions or writing events, so that they can be qualified as science entrepreneurs or science communicators. These unique experiences will help our students bring their science based training to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, business start-up, finance, public policy, journalism and other non-traditional fields. Our distinctive T32 training grant is designed to train students for careers outside academia, but it will allow them to excel in traditional post-doctoral environments if they so choose. We will prepare students to harness the potential of RNA science and technology by cross-training in chemical, molecular, nanoscale science, and public health disciplines, as we exploit the intellectual capital and the resources of the RNA Institute with members from University at Albany, SUNY (State University of New York) and SUNY Polytechnic Institute. The RNA Fellows program will give students in four departmental degree programs, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry and Nanobiosciences, unique research and educational experiences that will provide the professional and personal skills to meet the challenges needed for a cutting edge science and technology workforce. Doctoral research projects will extend from the fundamental biology of RNA in gene-expression, health and disease to technology innovation at the interfaces of biology, chemistry, biophysics, computation, nanoscale science, nanoscale engineering and informatics. There are six RNA research themes representing mentor faculty interests (i) Computational Analysis of RNA Structure; (ii) Experimental Analysis of RNA Sequence and Structure; (iii) Technology Development; and three biomedical themes of (i) Basic Cellular Processes; (ii) Infectious Disease; and (iii) Development and Cancer. A two- semester flagship RNA course based on these themes and a course in mathematical or biomedical fluency will be combined with options to train in entrepreneurship or writing, via the Blackstone Entrepreneurship Launchpad at our School of Business or at the renowned NY State Writers Institute, respectively. As evidence of Institutional support, we have implemented a SUNY sponsored RNA Fellows program that has 18 total students from three yearly cohorts. The 33 training faculty have on average over $372K a year in direct grant support and focus on our RNA core themes. UAlbany has a strong commitment to student diversity with 29.9% of its students being under-represented minorities. Together with an existing aggressive recruitment plan, our current demographics and our participation in the New York Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) positons us to grow our recruitment of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. Our T32 training grant application requests funding for 20 student slots, which is matched with over $1 million from SUNY in institutional support. !

Public Health Relevance

The goal of our T32 program is to rigorously train science and engineering graduate students in the principles of RNA and RNA related technologies, with applications in human health and disease. The RNA Fellows program spans four department at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Albany, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry and Nanobiosciences, and will support a comprehensive, intellectually rigorous, and individualized graduate training experience with tracks that focus on entrepreneurial or science communication. Our training program will provide a cadre of scientists that can transition to careers in science and technology companies, science communication organizations, public service or academia, all of which provide important components that help ensure the public health.

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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Gindhart, Joseph G
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State University of New York at Albany
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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