skip to Cookie NoticeSkip to contents

Notice of privacy incident at Brigham and Women's Hospital Click for more information

Header Skipped.

Channing Systems Genetics and Genomics Training Program

Training within the Systems Genetics and Genomics (SGG) Unit of the Channing Division of Network Medicine (CDNM) is focused on our institutional T-32 from the Division of Lung Diseases (DLD) of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which trains both post-doctoral and pre-doctoral fellows. The T-32 has been in continuous operation for the past 42 years.

In general, post-doctoral fellows, either MD or PhD, come to the lab and spend two to three years on the T-32, followed by transition to their own entry-level grant—usually a K series grant. Most fellows transition rapidly from the T-32 to their own independent funding.

T-32 Training Program

Our T-32 training grant is the only research program in the U.S. that is funded by the NHLBI to do research in asthma genetics, asthma genomics, asthma pharmacogenetics, COPD genetics, and COPD genomics. Over the past six years, we have:

  • Identified multiple replicated genetic associations for asthma and COPD
  • Identified two novel genes for steroid treatment response in asthma
  • Developed a predictive test for asthma in adults that has 90% accuracy
  • Developed novel methodology for analyzing genome-wide SNP data and for performing family-based genetic association studies.

We currently manage a total of more than 100,000 blood samples from 58 separate studies being conducted in 123 locations worldwide. We believe that we are poised to make even greater contributions to airways disease genetics over the next 10 years.

Clinical Epidemiology of Lung Diseases” (T32 HL007427) is led by Dr. Scott T. Weiss, professor of medicine and director of the T-32 grant, and Dr. Edwin K. Silverman, chief of CDNM.

Our training program has trained more than 100 full-time faculty, including three members of the National Academy of Medicine, and six individuals who chair departments across the U.S. and Canada over the past 30 years. In the past 10 years:

  • A total of 23 trainees graduated from the program
  • 21/23 (91%) are currently in faculty or research positions across the U.S.
  • 12 trainees have received K series grants and two others have received similar awards (e.g., Parker B. Francis Fellowship)
  • Of the 12 former trainees that received K (or similar) grants, four have already received R01 grant awards

As the current trainees advance in their careers, we anticipate that the number of K and R grant recipients will increase substantially. This track record places us at the very top of all NHLBI-funded training grants in terms of training performance.

Goal: To train clinical pulmonologists, allergists, molecular biologists, and others in the research techniques of respiratory epidemiology, genetics, genomics, and network medicine.

Research focuses: The primary research focus has been on asthma and COPD, although other major research concerns have been addressed as well (e.g., the health effects of air pollution and the occupational and environmental exposures that are important in relationship to airway diseases).

Trainees: The program has two types of trainees: post-doctoral and pre-doctoral. Most of the post-doctoral trainees are physicians trained in either adult or pediatric clinical pulmonary disease and interested in gaining research experience in respiratory epidemiology/genetics and network medicine. There are six of these trainees each year. Pre-doctoral students are interested in environmental epidemiology or statistics (either general or genetic statistics) as it relates to pulmonary disease. There are two pre-doctoral students each year.

Further education: Each trainee is also registered as a part-time (post-doctoral) or full-time (pre-doctoral) student. Over a two-year period, sufficient course work can be completed to qualify for a Master of Science degree in epidemiology, biostatistics, or bioinformatics or a Master in Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, with an emphasis in quantitative sciences.

Alternatively, trainees can earn a Master in Medical Science degree in biomedical informatics from Harvard Medical School. The predoctoral trainees can take courses to complete their qualifying exams for their doctoral degree while working on their doctoral thesis. Classroom activity is generally restricted to less than one-third of each trainee’s time each year, since the major focus of the training program is research. If necessary, some research time can be counted toward the unit credits required for a degree.