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NEI to Support Young Genomics Data Scientists

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Eye Institute wants more researchers who can use statistical genetics to study ophthalmology, and will award up to $300,000 per year for five years to start training programs to begin cultivating such talent.

The NEI Institutional Research Training Grants for Statistical Genetics and Genome Informatics is designed to develop ophthalmic statistical genetics and bioinformatics research skills that will be essential for developing genes and genetic variations that underlie ocular diseases.

Programs receiving funding will initiate predoctoral and postdoctoral research training opportunities for investigators seeking to study genetics involved in eye diseases.

The award program is aimed at attracting individuals who are early in their careers in order to increase their knowledge and awareness of genetics research related to ophthalmic disorders. These programs will train individuals how to develop novel approaches and methods for sequence analysis, gene mapping, complex trait mapping, and genetic variation in the visual system.

These tools could be mathematical and statistical methods for identifying the functional regulatory elements in complex genomes and for identifying patterns in large datasets, such as microarray gene expression data from genome-wide association studies and mapping complex traits with genetic variations. The long-range goal of such programs is to identify genetic effects that are responsible susceptibility to the development of disease.

The program also encourages training in ways to develop new tools for annotating complex genomes in order to make them more useful, and to help produce new software that could be shared among different genomic databases.

NEI believes that such bioinformatics resources are critical for the vision research community to gain access to genomic data in order to determine genotype-phenotype relations, and to understand the disease traits of visual diseases.