Campus & Community

HSPH receives NIH ‘Roadmap’ funding

3 min read

To be used for training predoctoral students and postdocs in interdisciplinary

investigation of genetics and complex diseases

The Interdisciplinary Training in Genetics and Complex Diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) program has received $2.2 million over the next five years as part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap for Medical Research. The new training program will focus on gene-environment interactions and complex diseases. Successful applicants to the program will be called “HSPH Roadmap Fellows” at the School, and stipend and tuition support will be provided by the new grant. The program aims to recruit nine promising predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees each year.

“The goal of our training program is to develop a cadre of scientists who will participate at the intersection of molecular and cellular biology, genetic epidemiology, and biostatistics to become leaders in integrative and team approaches to understanding genetics and complex diseases in the public health arena,” said Marianne Wessling-Resnick, professor of nutritional biochemistry in the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases and the program’s director. Gökhan Hotamisligil, chair of the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases, will serve as co-director.

Promising predoctoral students and postdoctoral researchers are urged to apply. More information about the program, based in the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at the School of Public Health, is available at Positions are open to both U.S.-born and foreign applicants.

Last year, the NIH announced its Roadmap for Medical Research, calling for more collaboration among scientists representing different disciplines. The Roadmap initiatives fall within three overarching themes. In fiscal year 2004, the NIH awarded $64 million to projects within the New Pathways to Discovery theme, $27 million to Research Teams of the Future projects, and $38 million to projects within the Re-Engineering the Clinical Research Enterprise theme. The training program at HSPH falls under the Research Teams of the Future theme.

“The bold vision of the NIH Roadmap promises to pay off enormously for America’s health,” said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson in a press release. “The Roadmap is a critical step toward improving the quality of life through scientific and technological innovation.”

Said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni in a press release: “We know that today’s scientific landscape demands new ways of thinking, and we know we need to introduce a new paradigm for the conduct of medical research. That’s what the Roadmap is all about – creating a supportive environment for scientists and their ideas to come together in ways we’ve never seen before.”