PRIDE-GE Fully Funded Summer Institute in Cardiovascular Genetic Epidemiology, 7-27 July 2016, USA

Publish Date: Jan 29, 2016

Deadline: Mar 01, 2016

Event Dates: from Jul 07, 2016 12:00 to Jul 27, 2016 12:00

Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine, now offers an all-expense paid summer institute in genetic epidemiology, initiated and funded by the NHLBI, for the purpose of increasing diversity in the biomedical research workforce. Junior faculty from under-represented population groups and faculty with disabilities qualify for this opportunity.   They must also be research-oriented holding a doctoral degree, such as the PhD, MD, DO, DVM or transitioning post-doctorate trainee.

The Summer Institute is designed to prepare the participants to work at the interface of genetic epidemiology, bioinformatics, cardiovascular disease, and other heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders.

The program includes

  • Two 3-week summer sessions, beginning July 7, 2016
  • Didactic lectures in Genetic Epidemiology and Bioinformatics
  • Brief mid-year meeting for all participants with their mentors
  • Group meeting with all PRIDE sites and NHLBI for  training and networking
  • Workshops and lectures on Cardiovascular  Epidemiology and other Heart, Lung, Blood and Sleep Disorders
  • Workshops in grants-writing
  • Excellent opportunity to develop research skills necessary for genetic dissection of cardiovascular disease and risk factors
  • Opportunity to develop a network of collaborators and resources to conduct research in the genetic epidemiology of cardiovascular disease and risk factors

Core Curriculum

  • Fundamentals of Genetic Epidemiology:  Heritability, Segregation, Linkage, Association Analysis
  • Bioinformatics:  Gene Expression, Data Mining and Pattern Recognition
  • Survey lectures on special topics
  • Group brainstorming sessions during most lunch hours with mentors and mentees for discussing and developing ideas for new grant applications
  • Multiple mentor-mentee meetings throughout

Prospective Participants

Junior faculty from an underrepresented minority (URM) population group or those with a disability would qualify if:

  • They have an interest in genetic epidemiology research with a focus on Cardiovascular or other Heart, Lung, Blood, and Sleep Disorders and
  • They have an interest in developing an independent research career

Application Materials:

1. Complete Pre-Application Form

2. Upon request, complete Main Application which consists of:

· Application Form

· Curriculum Vita

· Summary of academic work or research experience in Biostatistics, SAS, and Biological Sciences, Epidemiology, and Genetics

· Statement of research interest in CVD genetic epidemiology

· Recommendation Form and Letters of support from Department Chair and Mentor or Colleague

Apply Early.  Rolling Admissions until all slots are filled, with a target deadline of March 1, 2016.

Program Faculty

Faculty include world renowned Genetic Epidemiologists such as: 

D.C. Rao, Ph.D., Program Director, who is one of the early pioneers of the field with substantive research interests in cardiovascular genetic epidemiology, is the founding editor-in-chief of the journal Genetic Epidemiology, and an early president of the International Genetic Epidemiology Society. 

Victor Davila-Roman, M.D., Program Co-Director, is a renowned Cardiologist and an outstanding cardiovascular geneticist with established research programs in the fields of cardiac imaging and hypertension.

Treva Rice, Ph.D. and Yun Ju Sung, Ph.D., are the Course Masters of Fundamentals of Genetic EpidemiologyDr. Rice is an outstanding genetic epidemiologist with research preeminence in the effects of gene-environment interactions involvingnutrition and physical activity on cardiovascular disease and risk factors.  Dr. Sung’s research interests are statistical genetics, computational methods for gene-mapping, Monte Carlo, maximum likelihood, missing data, and    asymptotics.

Jinquin (Rosy) Luo, PhD, and C. Charles CGu, , PhD are the Course Masters of BioinformaticsDr. Luo has research interests of statistical methodology development and application involving classification methods, diagnostic test, variable selection, survival analysis and covariance estimation.  Dr. Gu's research activities encompass a wide spectrum across designing, conducting and analyzing genetic studies of complex diseases.

Component 1:  First summer session consists of:

  • Survey lectures on Fundamentals of Genetic Epidemiology, CVD, Epidemiology, etc.
  • Mentor meetings for grant and career development
  • Grant writing skills and lectures

Component 2:  Year-long Mentoring and career development throughout first year involves

  • Continuing interactions with mentors through phone calls and e-mails
  • Continued planning of a research project and grant application
  • Mid-year meeting for mock study section review of grants in progress
  • 2-3 day Annual Workshop-Conference with all PRIDE sites and NHLBI staff in the Washington, DC area

Component 3: Training during the second summer consists of

  • Polishing / finalizing grant applications
  • Mock Study Sessions
  • Lectures in bioinformatics and in responsible conduct of research

Component 4:  Extensive mentoring and follow up activities with regular evaluations and tracking

Mentors: Many Faculty Mentors (M.D. and/or Ph.D.) are from Washington University in St. Louis and each has a strong track record of independent research grant support in the field of research. A list of Mentors with research descriptions is available. Each Mentor is committed to networking with the Mentees to enable them to develop their career plans in terms of Genetic Epidemiology, CVD, and HLBS research. Lead scientists from other institutions participate as guest faculty.


The first component consists of a 3-week long (first) summer session. Training during this period begins with anOrientation Session, Primer in Biostatistics, which provides a survey of basic methods all mentees will benefit from, a 5-day long instruction on basic concepts and methods in genetic epidemiology (which will be spread over a 2-week period and with an emphasis on genetic association studies). This will include a series of survey lectures, special lectures, and workshops on a variety of topics including one devoted to unique issues and challenges faced by the mentees, and end with a Concluding Session.  The goals and expectations of the PRIDE program will be briefly reviewed at the orientation session, including an expected time line for the entire process.  The major goal of the Primer in Biostatistics and An Overview in Genetic Epidemiology is to provide a minimum background required for undertaking genetic epidemiology research on CVD (and related HLBS disorders).  Other lectures and workshops are scheduled throughout.  Finally, the concluding session will review what has been accomplished and what lies ahead with particular emphasis on what is expected of the mentees during the following year especially prior to the mid-year meeting.  The concluding session will be attended by all mentors at Washington University involved with the particular cohort of mentees. 

Orientation Session: After brief introductions by all participating faculty, mentors, and mentees, the goals and expectations of this PRIDE program will be reviewed. Brief presentations will be made by all potential mentors present, providing an outline of the currently ongoing research in their labs. Each mentee will then have an opportunity to present his/her area of research interest.  The mentors will have several opportunities to critique and offer suggestions to develop the research plan.  Contact information for all the mentors and faculty will be provided to encourage communication among mentees and mentors.  All mentees and mentors will have access to a secure area of the PRIDE web site which includes course materials such as the schedule for the entire summer session, a contact list for guest speakers and mentors, lecture handouts, maps, and other miscellaneous information.  The Program Directors will facilitate direct contacts between the mentees and mentors.  Mentors will be identified for each mentee prior to the start of the Summer Institute after which mentees will meet with their mentors as often as possible (usually during lunch and/or dinner) to explore possible research ideas. While we anticipate making tentative mentor assignments to all incoming mentees ahead of the orientation session, we are able to change if needed. 

A Primer in Biostatistics & Epidemiology (Dr Schechtman):  The biostatistics module offers a survey of basic methods used in biostatistics.  This instruction is orientated toward biostatistical and epidemiological concepts, methods, and applications to real data, rather than theory or derivation of formulas.  Classical methods are reviewed (e.g., t-test, chi-square, correlation), including some multivariate methods (regression and ANOVA), and study design issues. The Epidemiology module covers topics such as:  risk and projection, logistic regression, Incidence and Prevalence, Relative vs Absolute Risk, and Reporting in Medical Journals.   

             Special workshops on “Grant Writing and Grantsmanship” (NHLBI Program staff, Ms. Dodson, and  Drs.  Rao, and Schechtman):  PRIDE Mentees will receive extensive training in grants writing and grantsmanship issues.  NHLBI Program staff (Dr. Josephine Boyington and colleagues) cover in great detail the various types of NIH funding mechanisms, grant writing, submission, re-submission of revised applications, and NIH peer review.  The discussion also covers early investigator and new investigator considerations, the areas of current research interest to the NHLBI etc.  This series of 3 lectures is followed by an expert presentation by Dr. Schechtman on what the grant reviewers look for, what type of mistakes one should avoid, and how to write grants in a style readily appreciated by reviewers.  Ms. Dodson provides excellent hands-on training on how best to write and present the specific aims.  Her one hour lecture is followed by a group discussion and then followed by individual meeting with each mentee to discuss the specific aims of that mentee’s grant.  Dr. Rao provides a presentation and discussion on how to responsively prepare revised applications (re-submissions).  Collectively, they provide the nuts and bolts of grant writing, covering grantsmanship issues. 

Select Lectures from an Overview of Genetic Epidemiology (Dr Treva Rice and colleagues): The primary emphasis in this survey course is on learning basic concepts and the concepts underlying some standard methods for investigating the genetic causes of human disease.  The course includes some hands-on experience with real data on CVD risk factors like blood pressure and lipids using standard genetics computer programs.  General overview will cover principles of Mendelian genetics including Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium and Mendelian segregation.  Theories underlying familial resemblance (aggregation and heritability), linkage, and association analysis will be reviewed.  In particular, association analysis will be covered in some detail, including gene-gene (epistasis) and gene-environment interactions.  Since most mentees will need a working knowledge about how to carry association studies, hands-on computer labs using real data will cover this topic. 

Many Survey Lectures are presented during the Summer Institute, including topics such as Biomedical Journal Publishing; Reviewing Grants; Public Databases, Data Mining and Network Analysis, and Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) including Analysis Packages;  Hypertension, Hypertensive Heart Disease and Genetics;  Cardiovascular Phenotyping Laboratory; Cardiovascular Genetic Epidemiology; Clinical Application of Cardiovascular Genetics and Rare Genetic Variation and Risk for MI;  Training in Responsible Conduct of Research; Group Brainstorming of grant proposals;  Race/Ethnicity, Genetics, and Health Disparities; Unique Issues Faced by Researchers from Underrepresented Backgrounds in Conducting Research and in Pursuing Independent Research Careers; The Role of Genomics in Complex Disease; Career Advancement Plan for Junior Faculty; A Novel Field-Tested Approach to Writing NIH Grants: Internet Available Tools; and a Concluding Session with a review of progress up to date and discuss in detail the plans for the following year. 

Evaluations of the Curriculum, Mentors, Facilities, etc will be completed throughout the Summer Institute Program.   


The second component consists of year-long activities with a mid-year meeting and spans from September until the second summer (component 3).  This component involves extensive networking activities between the mentees and the mentors, reviewing the current CVD literature to identify and refine individual research interests, one mid-year meeting and writing outlines for grant applications.  The “mid-year” meeting of all mentees and mentors will be scheduled and will be held either December, January or February.  This meeting will include separate mentor-mentee meetings and a day-long grant review meeting.  This is formatted after a mock study session where each mentee’s research plans are presented and reviewed.  There will also be an annual workshop/conference among all sites & NHLBI including mentors for networking and career development. 


The third component of the program consists of the second summer session which will be approximately three weeks in length.  The second summer session will include several major activities: (1) Select lectures from course on Bioinformatics, (2) Training in Responsible Conduct of Research (Navigating the Minefields of Research Integrity and  Survey lectures of topics such as “An Introduction to Epigenetics and Epigenomics”, “Sample Size and Power”, “Biomarker Studies and Methods” , (3) A panel discussion on Grantsmanship Issues  (4) Group Brainstorming of grant proposals with all mentors and mentees available, (5) A concluding session. 


The final component consists of extensive mentoring and follow up activities with regular evaluations and tracking for a minimum period of three additional years.  

SIPID/PRIDE Mentee Testimonials of the benefits they derived from participating in the Summer Institute Program

  • A much sharper focus on my career development plans.
  • PRIDE has clearly exemplified and set the standard for the type of support structure needed at my home institution to be able to compete for NIH funding.
  • Very Important in grant writing skills.
  • PRIDE is incredibly helpful in developing contacts/networking.
  • When I get a grant, which I hope to be soon, much of the credit will go to PRIDE.
  • Build confidence in my ability to achieve my goals.
  • Expert consultation from senior scientists and peers.

The PRIDE Summer Institute covers these expenses:

Housing will be provided at the Parkway Hotel, 4550 Forest Park Blvd, St Louis, MO 63108 ( or a nearby hotel if rooms are not available. Special needs mentees will be given special consideration for their accommodations.

Meals will also be provided during most of the meeting days.  Mentees will be able to submit receipts for meals not served within the program guidelines while attending the Summer Institute.

Transportation: The program provides transportation, most likely in the form of airfare, for all trainees, including ground transportation to and from the airport. Washington University has shuttle service, and Metrolink, St. Louis' rapid transit system, provides convenient transportation to Lambert Airport, shopping and entertainment to various parts of St. Louis and to Illinois. If a mentee wishes to drive to the Summer Institute, we will make arrangements for parking and mileage reimbursement within NIH guidelines.

Campus Resources:

Libraries: The Wette Library of the Division of Biostatistics contains over 600 books on epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, statistics, and applications, as well as subscriptions to over 20 scientific journals. The MSIBS/GEMS program has a small student library with copies of many basic texts required for coursework. Students will have access to the considerable resources of the Becker Medical Library which is in an adjacent building, with access also provided via the computers within the Division. Students are eligible to use all Washington University libraries after identification cards are issued. Access to buildings will be identical to privileges provided to graduate students at Washington University School of Medicine.

Computing Facilities: Computing facilities are provided by the Division of Biostatistics. A computer core lab is available for student use at all hours, with access to word processing programs. The Media Center in Becker Medical Library also has a computer lab available to students and trainees.  Personal laptops and Flash Drives are strongly encouraged and wireless access is provided. 

Bookstores: The Medical School has a convenient bookstore on campus, located on the corner of Euclid and Children's Place.

Information about St Louis:


General Admissions Requirements:

The study of the genetic epidemiology of Cardiovascular, and other Heart, Lung, Blood, and Sleep Disorders and their risk factors is an interdisciplinary field. We have drawn faculty of diverse backgrounds to mentor junior faculty and scientists in this discipline to enhance the participant’s preparation to conduct future research in this field. We believe this all-expense-paid training will foster a unique learning environment and give the participants access to cutting edge research.  As a special program to increase diversity in the biomedical workforce, entry into the program is limited to the following:

  • Be a research-oriented junior-level faculty member or transitioning post-doctorate trainee.
  • Be an individual that is under-represented in the biomedical or health sciences or disabled.
  • Be a Citizen or Permanent Resident of the United States.
  • Have a research focus that is centered on heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders research; health disparities research relevant to heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders; or relevant research methodologies and approaches specific to these areas

Additional required information

  • A letter of support from the Department Chair that allows the mentee to fully participate in the program, and to
  1. Devote 5% protected time and effort throughout the program
  2. Devote 100% effort to all program activities
  3. Have access to institutional resources for preparing grant applications

       Approximate expected time commitments for Summer Institute (plus travel):

       Summer 1:  3 weeks in July/Aug

       Mid Year Visit:  2 days plus travel tentatively in January

       Annual Workshop-Conference in Washington, DC area:  3-4 days in April or May

       Summer 2:  3 weeks end of July into August

  • The applicant’s statement of Research Interest in the PRIDE Cardiovascular Genetic Epidemiology program and potential topics of interest.
  • Contact the Program Administrator, Linda Schreier at or by telephone at (314) 362-1565, if you have any questions or concerns.

Application Procedures:

We have a two-step admission process with a Pre-Application and an Application.  Please complete the Pre-Application if you are interested in applying to our PRIDE program.


If your Pre-Application Form is approved, you will be invited to proceed with the final step of the application process.  As soon as the Pre-Application form is reviewed, we will contact you.

Pre-Application Form

Full Application

Your application for admission to the Summer Institute should consist of the following:

The application include

  • The online Pre-Application form,
  • The online Full Application form,
  • Attachment of your curriculum vita,
  • Attachment of a brief statement that describes your academic or work experience in Biostatistics, SAS, Biological Sciences, Epidemiology and Genetics
  • Your statement of Research Interest in genetic epidemiology with a focus on Cardiovascular andother Heart, Lung, Blood, and Sleep Disorders.
  • Contact information for your Department Chair and Mentor/Colleague

Upon submission of the Full application, an email will be sent to your Department Chair and also a mentor or colleague that you have identified.  Please notify them to expect this.

Upon receipt of your complete application including the forms and the Letters of Recommendations, your application will be reviewed and a written notification of the decision of the committee will be provided to the applicant as soon as possible.  

Deadline: Rolling admissions until all slots are filled with a target deadline of March 1, 2016.  Apply early! 

The applicant will then have seven (7) days to either accept or decline in writing any offer of admission in order to hold his/her place in the program. Should the applicant accept the offer, a letter of acceptance must be received within the 7-day period.

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