The Functional Genomics Training Program (FGTP) will provide predoctoral trainees with the conceptual and technical foundation for developing independent careers in basic and translational genetics and genomics. The training supports the overall mission of National Institute of General Medical Sciences (T32 GM135081) to promote research that increases understanding of biological processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
Directed by Ann Harris PhD and Thomas LaFramboise PhD of the Genetics and Genome Sciences Department of Case Western Reserve University, the goal of this new Functional Genomics Training Program (FGTP) is to provide predoctoral students with an integrative training that encompasses basic research, bioinformatics, clinical genetics, and ethics. Genomics has become the basis for the study of human genetic disease, and we see a critical need for a formalized training program, especially as interest in human genomics and precision medicine has grown and continues to grow among students and the applicant pool at CWRU. Through this integrative model, we aim to empower students with a specialized skillset critical for ushering in and shaping the new era of precision medicine in both an efficient and responsible manner. To accomplish this training goal, we assembled a well-funded cohesive group of mentors with relevant genomics expertise in the following five key focus areas: (1) Mechanisms and Treatment of Human Genetic Disease, (2) Chromatin, Regulatory Elements, and RNA, (3) Bioinformatics and Biostatistics, (4) Cancer Genetics, (5) Clinical Genetics, Genetic Counseling and Ethics. Training will include coursework and hands on training in functional genomics and bioinformatics, along with clinically oriented training in which students shadow clinicians, observe genetic counseling sessions, and follow clinical diagnostic cases. Furthermore, as it is imperative to ensure that we train an ethically and socially responsible next generation of biomedical scientists, our training model will also incorporate ethics and the potential societal implications of functional genomics research, including genome editing. CWRU, with two key Departments that recently procured large reinvestments (Genetics and Genome Sciences, Population and Quantitative Health Sciences), a Clinical Center for Human Genetics, a Genetic Counseling Program, Genetics Diagnostic Labs, and two major hospitals (University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic), all located within a 1 mile radius, provides an ideal training hub for our program. We believe that this new program will have a significant and sustained impact on graduate education at CWRU by serving as a vehicle for uniting functional genomics research across the University and greater Northeast Ohio.