STAGE trainees will have the opportunity to expand upon their core discipline by acquiring specialized cross-disciplinary training in related disciplines of genetic epidemiology and statistical genetics research through a series of formal, informal and interactive learning opportunities, including:
- mentorship by a team of three faculty members, one from each the program’s three core disciplines: genetic and molecular epidemiology, statistical genetics, and genomics and biomedical genetics.
- a curriculum incorporating core, integrative and cross-disciplinary courses and leadership training
- cross-disciplinary practicums in industry, government or institutional research labs
- internships, exchanges, and networking at the local, national and international levels
- trainee participation at several cross-training seminar series, and national meetings and videoconferences.
These new “geneticists” will have the ability to resolve complex issues in the design and analysis of population health studies addressing high-impact hypotheses by acquiring the experience necessary to:
- design and conduct studies that can identify and characterize genetic determinants for complex diseases,
- measure the public health impact of having identified these genetic determinants, and
- integrate the use of genetic determinants into studies of the molecular basis of complex diseases.
Program graduates will be thoroughly prepared to:
- lead and/or contribute to the research of complex diseases, and
- pursue positions in academic or research institutions in the public or private sectors worldwide.
Summary of Training Objectives and Assessable Outcomes
|Unit of Instruction||Objectives||Outcomes||Assessments
|Co-mentorship in three disciplines||To foster the development and application of integrative thinking|
To learn about, and experience, the value of partnership
To acquire knowledge and skills in the three core disciplines of genetic epidemiologic investigations
|Trainees will have access to mentors with complementary strengths and learn about research without disciplinary boundaries|
Trainees will demonstrate acquisition of skills in genetic epidemiologic investigations
|The team of co-mentors will be established at the time of admission.
Trainees will demonstrate integrative thinking in the development of their research protocol and papers
Trainees will demonstrate partnership skills in activities of the curriculum such as the “paper project” based on the STAGE Integrative sessions
|Courses in core discipline||To develop strength in a core discipline||Trainees will develop expertise in one of the three core elements of genetic epidemiologic research; for example, epidemiology, (bio)statistics, or biomedical/genetics||Trainees will successfully complete (or have completed5) required courses of their core academic program in a timely manner
|Integrative courses||To introduce trainees to the basic concepts and principles of genetic epidemiology, statistical genetics and population genetics as integrative disciplines||Trainees will think in terms of the ‘big picture’ while working on individual aspects of a problem. For example, statistics trainees will take into consideration biological information while working on specific statistical problems||Trainees will successfully complete at least three integrative courses i.e., Fundamentals of Genetic Epidemiology, Statistical Genetics, and Molecular Anthropology (Population Genetics), in addition to the required seminar course
|Courses4 in cross-disciplines||To develop cross-disciplinary skills and knowledge||Trainees will have a broad understanding of key principles and concepts, relevant to genetic epidemiologic research, in the two other core elements. For example, biomedical/genetic trainees will take (bio)statistics and epidemiology courses||Trainees will successfully complete at least one course in two core disciplines outside their own
|Weekly journal clubs/Research progress seminars||With a focus on methods and study designs:|
To discuss seminal papers and recent breakthroughs
To provide a casual, yet critical, environment for trainees to present their research projects
To foster a sense of community
|Trainees will employ critical and integrative thinking through discussions with peers and faculty, and will demonstrate good oral-communication skills||Trainees and mentors will regularly attend the journal clubs and seminars, and will develop presentation skills prior to presenting at national or international meetings
|Monthly International Speaker Seminar Series||To develop an International perspective of genetic epidemiologic research|
To provide networking opportunities
To advertise STAGE
|Opportunities for trainees to meet with international speakers in an informal setting||Trainees will be exposed to high-calibre international research, and will be able to discuss their research with speakers
|Writing grants and papers & Peer-review activities||To develop and apply skills in writing grants and scientific papers|
To become familiar with the process of peer-review of grants and papers
|Having obtained the appropriate authorizations, trainees will be observers on peer-review panels, and mentors and trainees will jointly act as reviewers manuscripts from peer-reviewed scientific journals|
|All trainees will apply for external studentships/fellowships
Trainees and mentors will jointly prepare critical reviews of submitted manuscripts
Trainees will write well-structured scientific papers with impact
4 These courses will be available to post-docs but not required.
5 For example, postdoctoral fellows and “re-training” scientists.