A major challenge to the medical sciences is understanding the mechanisms of, and developing treatments for, the large group of disorders that are either primarily genetic in origin or in which genes play a role in biological responses. The techniques of molecular biology have made it possible to identify and characterize defective genes and proteins, and to potentially treat disease by gene replacement or modification, but wide gaps in knowledge of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis remain. Veterinarians are ideally suited, due their broad education in the biological medical sciences and direct involvement in the health and productivity of animals, to play major roles in research into the basic mechanisms involved in genetic and gene-influenced diseases, novel therapies, and identification of genes that mediate disease resistance. We have established an extensive research program that utilizes animal models of human diseases as a platform for understanding the molecular pathogenesis of genetic diseases or the role of genetic influences, and to develop experimental therapeutic strategies. Studies on individual animal models that can address these important scientific questions are supported by a large number of NIH and private foundation grants to investigators in the W.F. Goodman Center for Comparative Medical Genetics and other interdisciplinary research groups in the Veterinary School, as well as other biomedical entities on the campus. This training grant proposes to train talented veterinary scientists in medical and molecular genetics research, emphasizing those fields which provide the greatest potential to advance the understanding, treatment, and prevention of diseases in which genes play a major role. Our goal is to produce a cadre of outstanding young scientists who will not only advance knowledge, but who will, through their influence on the profession and related fields, serve as leaders in the further development of medical genetics and related areas in veterinary medicine. Increasing the number of comparative medical geneticists will result in expanding the number of well characterized animal models available to the biomedical research community. Most of our former trainees are in academic positions, are progressing up the ranks, and are providing a positive influence on the profession by expanding the field of medical genetics for biomedical research.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRR1-CM-9 (02))
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Watson, William T
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University of Pennsylvania
Schools of Veterinary Medicine
United States
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