Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people


Principal Investigator: Mark Roberson
Co-Principal Investigator: Paula Cohen

Department of Biomedical Sciences
Contact Information:  Email msr14@cornell.edu; Phone:  607-253-3336
Sponsor:  NIH- National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Grant Number:  2 T32 HD052471-06 
Title:  Reproductive Biology and Genomics Training Program
Annual Direct Cost:  $206,948
Project Period:  09/17/2012-04/30/2017

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The overall goal of the renewal of this Program is to continue to provide comprehensive and in-depth research training in the reproductive sciences, centrally integrating training in the tools of functional mammalian genomics/genetics and computational biology. To accomplish this goal, a select group of graduate and postdoctoral trainees will have the opportunity to choose and be trained by dual mentors; the primary Trainer having expertise in the reproductive sciences and the Co-Trainer with expertise in genomics and/or computational biology. Eighteen (18) faculty trainers are represented in this application. We are requesting support for two (2) baccalaureate PhD slots and three (3) postdoctoral slots (one of which is reserved for a MD/DVM-Seeking-PhD trainee), each for a two-year training interval. Support is requested for a total of five (5) years for this training program. The philosophy behind this proposed training plan is based upon the appreciation that biomedical researchers in the reproductive sciences would benefit greatly from parallel training in practical and applied use of genome-wide investigative techniques. Cornell University is uniquely poised for a training program in reproductive sciences that spans male and female physiology, the genetic bases of fertility, physiology of the maternal-fetal interface, cell signaling and molecular endocrinology and the molecular and genetic basis for reproductive cancers. In addition, the proposed program will benefit greatly by inclusion of faculty members with interests in non-mammalian models of reproduction in Drosophila and C. elegans to facilitate comparative evolutionary studies. Training in the genomics and computational areas will emphasize the following (some examples): creation and use of transgenic and knockout models (animal models for the study of fertility as well as models of disease pathophysiology emphasizing reproductive neoplasia); use of micro arrays and bioinformatics analyses including comprehensive training in manipulation of databases for model organisms and genomic browsers/portals that serve to aid in determination of genotype/phenotype relationships; creation of computer-based modeling to facilitate informed decisions on structure/function relationships; analysis of gene transcription networks based upon application of principles of comparative genomics. The faculty involved in this proposed Program is committed to facilitating a training environment in the reproductive sciences and its interface with genome structure and activity. The collaborative effort(s) between Trainers and Co-Trainers is the cornerstone of this program. This unique scientific and technical interface will enhance the opportunity for pre- and postdoctoral trainees to leave this environment well-trained in the reproductive sciences and in multiple state-of-the-art techniques and applications in genomics that will optimize their continued success in continued training (transitioning to postdoctoral) or the acquisition of scientific positions in academia, government or industry. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The goal of this training Program is to continue to provide comprehensive and in-depth research training in the reproductive sciences, centrally integrating training in the tools of functional mammalian genomics/genetics and computational biology in order to address problems of world population, long-term sustainability and infertility. To this end, graduate and postdoctoral trainees will choose and be trained by dual mentors; the primary Trainer having expertise in the reproductive sciences and the Co-Trainer with expertise in genomics and/or computational biology.