Sleep and circadian disorders have a major impact on public health. Almost all aspects of sleep and circadian rhythm are heritable as are common sleep and circadian disorders. Thus, there is a major opportunity to study the genetic basis of sleep/circadian rhythm and different sleep disorders. Genomic approaches, including development of novel biomarkers, are another area of opportunity. While these major scientific opportunities are available, we do not have the scientific workforce necessary to address them. To address this need, a multi-institutional training grant has been established in genetic/genomics of sleep and circadian disorders. It takes a national, rather than single institutional, perspective. The program is led by faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, which has the most advanced infrastructure for research training. The sites that fellows train at are Johns Hopkins University, University of Michigan and Stanford University. A multidisciplinary, talented faculty has been recruited to provide training. This includes experts in different sleep disorders, in human genetics, in genomic approaches, including RNA seq, and use of multiple model systems such as zebrafish and mice. The latter allows trainees to evaluate the functional role of gene variants identified in human studies. The program has coordinated events that all trainees attend. These include research work- in-progress talks, a grant workshop and lectures on genetics/genomics of sleep and circadian disorders. The program has recruited 8 outstanding MD and PhD postdoctoral trainees, four of whom have already submitted career development grants. All individuals who have entered the program remain in biomedical research in academic settings.
Sleep and circadian disorders have a large impact on public health and lead to effects on all body systems?cardiovascular, metabolic and behavioral consequences of these disorders. Almost all aspects of sleep and circadian rhythm and sleep/circadian disorders are influenced by genetic factors. Currently, however, there is an insufficient scientific workforce to address this; hence this training grant takes a national approach and involves four leading institutions (University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, University of Michigan and Stanford University).
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