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Boston University

Superfund Research Program

Training Core

Project Leaders: Ian P. Callard, David M. Ozonoff
Grant Number: P42ES007381
Funding Period: 2017-2020
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Project Summary (2005-2012)

The long-term objective of this core is to train new professionals with appropriate skills to deal with health related research questions at the intersection of environmental health, developmental and reproductive biology, and endocrine disruption. Bioinformatics approaches to hormone/xenobiotic ligand receptor/enzymatic interactions are employed in the context of reproductive/developmental problems of xenobiotic exposure at the mechanistic level. Thus, cross disciplinary training is integral to the application.  The Training Core builds on an existing Training Program on Endocrine Mechanisms in Reproduction in the Department of Biology and the Intercollegiate Program in Bioinformatics, involving faculty members from Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics and the Medical School. All programs have in place procedures for the recruitment of under-represented minorities. Three predoctoral students per year are recruited from these programs for support at the second year or beyond once committed to a research program within the Boston University SBRP. Supported students are required through appropriate core courses to develop knowledge of the application of computational biology in the context of biological problems of xenobiotic exposure and their modes of action as disrupters of developmental, endocrine and immune function. Appropriate courses are offered in the graduate programs of the participating colleges and departments. Each student has a primary mentor (from bioinformatics or the biological fields) and an additional secondary advisor to ensure exposure to both areas, There are required rotations for students in laboratory and computational settings. A monthly advanced research seminar program is offered, as well as graduate student current status 1 weekly seminar reports. Both of these have a distance learning component to enhance the integration and spread of relevant bench-level knowledge within the program, Students are also required to participate in a weekly seminar in Responsible Conduct of Research.

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