NIH awards $5.8M to create genomic data science educational hub for early career researchers
Funding to enhance diversity in genomic data science through cloud computing.
National Institutes of Health will provide approximately $5.8 million over five years to create an educational hub for computational genomics and data science. The hub will provide new educational and research opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds, including those from groups historically underrepresented in the biomedical sciences.
The program will support educational activity at two different early career stages — undergraduate and master's degree level — to help students build a solid foundation in the field. The hub will use cloud computing platforms to share educational resources for genomic data science to ensure its accessibility to various institutions who may not have sophisticated computing facilities.
“This award will provide opportunities for students from different backgrounds to experience genomic data science research, individuals who may otherwise not have access to these topics through their institutions,” says Shurjo Sen, Ph.D., program director in the Office of Genomic Data Science within the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). “Instead of requiring their college or university to have its own high-performance computing infrastructure, students will be able to access genomic data and resources with only a laptop and an internet connection. Through the hub, cloud computing will be used as an educational tool, which will make genomic data and analysis tools more readily available.”
The hub will be based at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCATSU), the largest historically Black college and university in the United States. By creating the hub, NCATSU will anchor a community of institutions that are serving students from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups historically underrepresented in biomedical sciences, and are invested in genomic data science education. The hub will facilitate educational and research initiatives at these institutions through workshops and hands-on learning sessions and develop strategies to address their educational and training challenges.
This award will provide opportunities for students from different backgrounds to experience genomic data science research, individuals who may otherwise not have access to these topics through their institutions.
With the recent growth of cloud computing technologies, researchers have more access to genomic data sets, tools and resources. The educational hub will use NIH-funded cloud-based platforms, such as the NHGRI Genomic Data Science Analysis, Visualization and Informatics Lab-space (AnVIL) and the All of Us Research Program's Researcher Workbench to enable researchers to gain research skills in the genomic data science field.
This award represents a tangible commitment to the principles and vision from NHGRI’s "Building a Diverse Genomic Workforce" Action Agenda, which strives to enhance the diversity of backgrounds in genomics. A more inclusive genomic workforce fosters more creativity and innovation in the field, which leads to more scientific discoveries.
“Genomics is a fast-paced, multi-disciplinary and foundational area of science,” says Lucia Hindorff, Ph.D., M.P.H., lead extramural training program director within NHGRI’s Training, Diversity and Health Equity Office. “The field is at its best when individuals from diverse backgrounds bring differing perspectives and experiences and contribute to the process of scientific research and the sharing of knowledge. Exposure of trainees and students to genomics and data science early in their education can make an impact on their decisions to continue in science and how they see themselves as scientists.”
In addition to funding from NHGRI, this educational award is supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the NIH Office of Data Science Strategy, and the NIH All of Us Research Program.
Last updated: September 7, 2023