Human Genetics

What is the best way to collaborate with the Center for Human Genetics Research (CHGR)? Is there a way to implement the collaboration plan with the Center?

  • In the short term, it will be very difficult to implement the collaboration plan with the CHGR and with other basic science departments. This is because no budgetary mechanism currently exists that makes it easy for basic science leaders to financially support our plan. Currently, these departments and the CHGR only fund collaboration through external grants. This means that biostatistical collaborators will have to bootleg time to help with the preparation of grants through the CHGR.

  • We recommend that biostatisticians who choose to do this try to focus their collaborations on a single lab or area of basic biologic research and achieve funding on multiple grants in this area. This will make it easier to find the time to work on new grant preparation and will reduce the time needed to keep up with the underlying genetics and biology of multiple research projects.

  • In the long term, we recommend that some arrangement be made where by the Dean can facilitate and encourage the CHGR and other basic science departments to participate in the collaboration plan. It may make sense to wait a few years until the current plan has proved its worth with the clinical departments before pursuing this objective.

How do we estimate the number of statistical geneticists to recruit in the next two years?

  • We believe that we should recruit one additional statistical geneticist over the next two years.

  • This person should be a well-rounded biostatistician who is interested and trained to engage in general biomedical collaboration in addition to working on genetics research.

  • It is our understanding that Dr. Haines is currently recruiting a statistical geneticist who will be located entirely within his division. In the short term, this will limit our opportunities for genetics collaborations.

How do we best show senior investigators what is the value added by statistical geneticists?

  • By hiring good people who do good work that is valued by their collaborators. Over time, their reputations will grow and they will be more sought after by senior investigators with new problems.

  • By participating in journal clubs and seminar series, giving talks that demonstrate how we can add to the current group.

  • By serving on PhD committees.

What journal club opportunities exist and how can we best get involved in them?

  • The Statistical and Computational Genetics Journal Club is currently organized by Chun Li, with participants mainly from the Center for Human Genetics Research. It meets for an hour every other week and discusses papers on human genetics research. It is intended to reach a broad range of participants in biomathematics, biostatistics, and other quantitative disciplines.

How can we best follow through with probability/statistics curriculum requirements for PhD students in Human Genetics?

  • By having a member of the department of biostatistics on the committee of all students receiving a masters degree in statistics from this department? (This is a discussion point proposed by Bonnie).

  • The committee felt that a minimum requirement of a year of statistical theory should be implimented into this program, hopefully supplemented by a semester of linear models.

    • ECON 307 is the course that covers topics typically covered in most first semester theory courses in statistics, course syllabus.

    • Chun Li is drafting a course to be titled Statistical Genetics that will cover the second semester of statistical theory, with a focus on the needs of students in the human genetics department.

    • PSY 312 covers the general linear model framework, though in a slightly different manner than most statistics departments, course syllabus.

    • The other research methods courses need to be chosen with care, to alleviate overlap and ensure breadth of coverage of statistical methods.

  • In the short term, we could recommend ECON 307, Statistical Genetics, and PSY 312 be required courses for this program. At least until we are able to offer these courses within the department. The other courses used as electives need be chosen with assistance of the examining committee members (including someone from the department of biostatistics?).

  • The idea of a required exam of these students was discussed, with both Bill Dupont and Chun Li stating that this sort of a requirment would be hard to push. Instead, they proposed that the department of statistics offer this as a service if the department of human genetics wanted to implement such an exam.
Topic revision: r4 - 26 Apr 2013, JohnBock

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