Navigation Links
Institute for Genomic Biology, School of Integrative Biology receive major NSF training grant
Date:10/3/2011

The National Science Foundation has awarded the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) and the School of Integrative Biology a $3.2 million training grant. NSF's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) is a highly regarded grant program that was founded in 1998 and has, thus far, provided interdisciplinary research training to approximately 5,000 graduate students.

The University of Illinois grant, Vertically Integrated Training With Genomics (VInTG), will provide support for as many as 30 graduate students over the next five years. Students will learn ways to both ask and answer the big research questions of the coming decades, says principal investigator Andrew Suarez, associate professor of Animal Biology and Entomology and IGB affiliate.

VInTG will address two "grand challenges" in biology: How do genomes interact with the environment to produce biological diversity? and How are biological systems integrated from molecules to ecosystems? Answering these questions will help both science and society determine how to maintain food security under climate change; how to integrate genetics and ecology to study emerging infectious diseases; and how organisms' responses to climate change influence biodiversity and ecosystem function.

"We think this vertically integrated approach will shed light on these kinds of grand challenges," says Suarez.

VInTG will focus on what Suarez calls "back to the future" approaches. Over the past several decades graduate training and scientific research generally has become highly specialized. This approach resulted in major advances, particularly in the genomic and bioinformatics fields. As a result, with hundreds or even thousands of animal and plant genome sequences becoming available, nearly all levels of biological inquiry are becoming "genome-powered." Consequently, Suarez and his co-PIs, Gene Robinson (Department of Entomology), Carla Cceres (Department of Animal Biology and Program in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology), Sandra Rodriguez-Zas (Department of Animal Sciences), and Owen McMillan (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute), believe the time is ripe to integrate these fields with a more traditional, taxonomic approach.

Through the grant, graduate students will study an organism or group of organisms from its genome to its evolution, ecology and behavior. This means that graduate students interested in biological fieldwork on a given organism will also learn about genomic tools that are available, and those interested in benchwork and bioinformatics will conduct biological fieldwork in order to put that research in a broader, species-specific context.

With this approach students will have a comprehensive knowledge of their organisms, says Suarez.

"We don't want to train students to generate huge amounts of data without knowing what questions they are really asking," says Suarez. "We want to train field biologists who know how to collect data with the genomic resources available in their mind and to train bench scientists and bio-informaticians to know about their organism."

In addition to being interdisciplinary, the program will have students working in research teams, rather than individual students interacting with individual advisers. Students are eligible to apply for two years of funding and will take specific classes that emphasize vertical integration.

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), one of the world's premier tropical research institutes, is a partner in the grant and will host students at their research facility in Panama. Students will have access to STRI's large, diverse and long-term study sites and databanks for a wide variety of organisms and ecosystems in Panama.

This is the third IGERT the University of Illinois has received in the past three years, and the first going to a biology program.


'/>"/>

Contact: Nicholas Vasi
nvasi@illinois.edu
Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. La Jolla Institute discovers previously unknown cell interaction key in immune system attacks
2. Stanford Precourt Institute and TomKat Center award energy research grants
3. Buck Institute and Biotica to investigate polyketides in extension of healthy lifespan
4. The Finnish Meteorological Institute studies air quality in Santiago de Chile
5. Marine Science Institute receives $7 Million grant to study the impact of the Deepwater Horizon
6. Salk Institute named global leader in plant biology research
7. National Institutes of Health renews successful infectious disease research study
8. La Jolla Institute opens major RNAi center for identifying genetic triggers of disease
9. Trudeau Institute announces new discovery in battle against infections
10. Novel analysis by Allen Institute sheds new light on the mechanisms of brain development
11. European Bioinformatics Institute to lead UK PubMed Central in 2011-2016
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2016)... -- The new GEZE SecuLogic access control ... system solution for all door components. It can be ... interface with integration authorization management system, and thus fulfills ... dimensions of the access control and the optimum integration ... considerable freedom of design with regard to the doors. ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting ... are setting a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks ... By leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely ... pulse and body mass index, and, when they opt ... and convenient visit to a local retail location at ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... , March 23, 2016 ... Interesse erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit ... Inc. (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein ... dass das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um ... der Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers ... the most commonly-identified miRNAs in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are ... to read it now. , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... TORONTO , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon ... the development and commercialization of a portfolio of ... cancers. Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an ... contribute significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 ... for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking ... Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. ... Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: