The 2013 SGI class meets NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady (front, second from l).
NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady recently welcomed 25 graduate students, faculty and clinicians to the institute’s Summer Genetics Institute (SGI). A month-long, interdisciplinary training program, SGI provides participants with a foundation in the latest theoretical models, clinical applications and leading-edge technologies for genetic- and genomic-based research. The goal, Grady said to trainees, “is to effectively and efficiently enhance your skills in molecular genetics for use in research, teaching and clinical practice.”
Trainees arrived with a basic grasp of genetics via a primer NINR provides. They hit the ground running, splitting their time between hands-on lab sessions and classroom lectures from national experts conducting linkage and association studies, gene-environment investigations and epigenetics and expression research. The curriculum also includes sessions exploring scientific and ethical questions about genetics, genomics and health and how genomic data is translated into practice and policy.
To balance the intensity of the training, NINR builds in opportunities to explore the campus. For instance, the class of 2013 enjoyed a tour of the Clinical Center and the chance to hear a Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series talk. Some trainees also found time to tour the National Library of Medicine and attend other trans-NIH events.
Trainees praised SGI, often citing it as career-changing.
“Based on what I learned at the SGI, I would like to explore inflammatory pathways of gene expression and how they relate to risk for stroke,” one participant noted. “The information I learned at SGI is crucial to my future studies of the relationship of genetic and inflammatory markers on the development of radiation dermatitis of the breast in women of color,” said another. “The opportunity to network with NIH researchers and my SGI classmates was invaluable to my career.”
In concluding remarks, Grady noted the class of 2013 will join “more than 250 SGI alumni already playing a role in advancing genetics and genomics research—disseminating findings, integrating new knowledge into nursing school and other curricula and helping shape the policies and clinical practices of the emerging field of personalized, or precision, health care. Your hard work here will not only enhance your expertise, but also strengthen and deepen the contributions nursing science can make to these efforts.”
The application period for SGI 2014 will open in mid-November 2013. To learn more, visit www.ninr.nih.gov/Training/SGI.—Andria M. Cimino