COURSES IN GENOMIC ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION AND ELSI RELATED RESEARCH

Release Date:  January 29, 1999

PA NUMBER:  PAR-99-059

P.T.

National Human Genome Research Institute

This Program Announcement replaces PA-91-88, which appeared in the NIH Guide
for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 20, No. 34, part I of II, September 13, 1991.

PURPOSE

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) invites applications for
support of short, advanced-level courses in  genomic analysis and
interpretation and in ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) research. 
Of particular interest are courses that emphasize new laboratory techniques in
genetic and physical mapping, technology and theory related to studying
sequence variation, DNA sequencing technology applicable to large-scale
projects, informatics as it relates to the Human Genome Project (HGP), new
technologies for interpretation of the genome, interdisciplinary training in
principles of genomic analysis for non-biologists, and principles and methods
of studying the ethical, legal and social issues relevant to the Human Genome
Program for biologists.  These courses are meant to enhance the skills of U.S.
scientists and scholars who are  interested in pursuing laboratory research
that utilizes the data and materials generated by the HGP or scholarly
research relevant to the goals of the HGP.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion
and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"a PHS-led national
activity for setting priority areas.  This PA, Courses in Genomic Analysis and
Interpretation and ELSI-Related Research, is related to the priority area of
human resource development.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of
"Healthy People 2000" at: http://www.crisny.org/health/us/health7.html.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications may be submitted by domestic public and private organizations,
such as universities, colleges and research institutions.  Foreign
institutions are not eligible for support under this mechanism.  Racial/ethnic
minority individuals, women and persons with disabilities are encouraged to
apply as principal investigators.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

Support for this program will be through the Continuing Education Training
Grant mechanism (T15).  Allowable costs include personnel, supplies, travel
and per diem for faculty and other costs, such as printing, telephone, audio-
visual, postage, recruitment materials, and funds for a limited number of
scholarships.  The indirect cost rate for T15 awards will be 8 percent,
excluding equipment, tuition and fees.  Although it is envisioned that
applicant institutions will have the necessary equipment to support course
offerings, the NHGRI will consider, on a limited basis, requests for
equipment, if properly justified.  Justification for equipment that is to be
purchased rather than rented must be provided.  It is also expected that the
courses will be partially supported through registration fees paid for by
participants.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is currently engaged, along with
several other federal, private, and international organizations, in a research
program to characterize the human genome and the genomes of selected model
organisms.  This program, the Human Genome Project (HGP), has the following
interrelated goals: the development of detailed maps and the determination of
the complete nucleotide sequence of the human genome and the genomes of
selected organisms; the development of efficient methods for identifying genes
and their function; the development of the capability to collect, store,
distribute and analyze the data and materials produced; the development of new
technologies to achieve these goals; the examination of the ethical, legal and
social implications (ELSI) of genome research; and the development of training
and career development programs to ensure that there will be adequately
trained scientists to develop and utilize the products emanating from the HGP. 
The products of the HGP will be information and material resources, as well as
new technologies, that will be available to the entire research community to
facilitate further research leading to the prevention, diagnosis, and therapy
of disease, as well as to further understanding of human biology.  Scholarly
research will be the foundation for understanding the ELSI issues generated by
genomics and genetics research.

In 1990, the NIH and the Department of Energy (DOE) jointly published a plan
that sets out specific goals to be achieved in the first five-year phase of
the U.S. Human Genome Project.  Anticipating the attainment of much of the
initial set of goals, the NIH and DOE extended the original goals of the Human
Genome Project.  These goals are described in the article, þNew Five-Year Plan
for the U.S. Human Genome Project, þ(Science, Vol. 262, pp. 43-46, October 1,
1993) and cover the years 1994-1998.  In the Fall of 1998, the NIH and DOE
published a new five year plan (Science, Vol. 282, p682, October 23, 1998;
http://www.nhgri.nih.gov/98plan/).  The development of technology for mapping
and sequencing will continue to be areas of emphasis.  New technological areas
of interest will include the interpretation of genomic sequence, the study of
sequence variation and the analysis of gene expression.

For the Human Genome Project and the fields of genomics and ELSI research to
develop effectively, it is desirable to disseminate technological advances and
new information as rapidly as possible to scientists who would like to utilize
the data and resources emanating from the Human Genome Project in their
research.  The development of many fields, such as molecular biology and
genetics, has been facilitated by the availability of short, intensive,
advanced-level courses.  Properly designed courses in areas of relevance to
genomic analysis and the related ELSI issues will be of similar utility to the
development of the HGP itself and to the application of the information
produced by the project.

Scientific Objectives

The goal of this Program Announcement is to stimulate the development of
courses in subjects relevant to the Human Genome Project and appropriate to
the broader scientific and scholarly community. The goal of each course should
be to strengthen the capacity of U.S. scientists and scholars to use the
resources generated by the Human Genome Project in their research.  The
courses should provide participants with up-to-date knowledge of the latest
technological advances and information so that they can participate more
effectively in the Human Genome Project or utilize the information and
technology produced by the Human Genome Project in other areas of research.

Although the NHGRI has already awarded grants for a number of courses, we are
still interested in receiving applications for courses in all areas of genomic
analysis and ELSI research.  The following is a list of potential subjects for
such courses and is not intended to be limiting, but to provide examples.

o  Laboratory techniques applicable to mapping studies, emphasizing the
development and utilization of resources for genomic analysis.  Examples
include: new marker development techniques, particularly those that are
amenable to automation; association studies and linkage analyses.  Courses of
this type should be addressed to practicing biologists who wish to learn new
methodologies.

o  Laboratory methods using genomic technology for identifying expressed
regions of the genome and assaying their products.  Examples include:
efficient methods of making cDNA libraries; new approaches to studying gene
expression such as use of microarrays; and computational tools for
identification of genes from genomic sequences.   Courses of this type should
be addressed to practicing biologists who wish to utilize a variety of
technologies in order to understand how genes function.

o  Large-scale DNA sequencing, emphasizing analysis and discussion of problems
to be solved, particular strategies, and the most up-to-date technology
applicable to large-scale DNA sequencing.  Large-scale sequencing courses
should include: library resources; template preparation; sequencing;
collection, assembly and preliminary analysis of sequence data; automation of
these steps; and operations at large scale.  These courses should be at an
advanced level and designed for scientists who already have experience in some
aspect of DNA sequencing.

o  Courses that introduce the principles of genome analysis to non-biological
scientists such as mathematicians, statisticians, physicists, chemists,
engineers, and computer and information scientists in order to stimulate the
application of state-of-the-art methodologies, technologies and concepts to
the development of high-throughput analytical strategies and devices, and to
data management and analysis problems.  These courses should describe current
experimental, analytical, and data management methodology as an introduction
to a review of current problems and future needs.  These courses are designed
to stimulate interdisciplinary research collaborations between non-biology
basic scientists, engineers, mathematical or computer scientists with the more
traditional biologically-trained genome researchers.

o  Various aspects of informatics relevant to large-scale mapping and
sequencing projects.  Examples include:  database design; data analysis for
map and/or sequence assembly; data mining and data management.

o  Concepts and techniques relevant to the analysis of the ethical, legal and
social implications of human genome research and their application to genomic
data.  Examples include courses designed to introduce scholars trained in the
humanities, social sciences and the law to the science underlying genomic
research or to introduce biologists and health professionals to legal,
philosophical and social scientific approaches.  Courses in the principles and
methods of particular disciplines, such as insurance economics, patent law,
etc., which are relevant to specific uses of new genetic knowledge are also
encouraged.

Faculty should consist of established investigators or scholars actively
working in the area of instruction.  Plans for the inclusion of individuals
who are currently underrepresented in the field of genomic research, such as
women, minorities and persons with disabilities should be addressed.

Courses may range from a few days to a few weeks and may be offered annually,
although other terms will be acceptable.  Applicants may initially request
support for two years.  Course offerors are expected to be academic or
research institutions experienced in training, however applications from for-
profit institutions will also be considered.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted on the research grant application form PHS
398 (rev. 4/98) and will be accepted at the standard application deadlines as
indicated in the application kit.  Application kits are available at most
institutional offices of sponsored research, from the Division of Extramural
Outreach and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701
Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone (301) 435-0714,
email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov; from the NIH web page:
http://www.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm; and from the program director listed
under INQUIRIES.

The title and number of this program announcement must be typed in Section 2
on the face page of the application.

The completed original application and three legible copies must be sent or
delivered to:

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 - MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application must be
sent to:

Office of Scientific Review
National Human Genome Research Institute
Building 38A, Room 609
Bethesda, MD  20892-6050

Review Criteria

Applications will be reviewed for scientific and technical merit by the Genome
Research Review Committee.  As part of the initial merit review, all
applications will receive a written critique and undergo a process in which
only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific merit, generally
the top half of applications under review, will be discussed and assigned a
priority score.  Following scientific and technical review, the applications
will receive a second-level review by the National Advisory Council for Human
Genome Research.

Applications will be evaluated using the following review criteria:

o  Overall scientific and didactic merit;

o  Need for the course and effectiveness in disseminating information and new
technological approaches/developments applicable to furthering the goals of
the Human Genome Project;

o  Quality of the course content and adequacy of the syllabus;

o  Training, experience, and research competence of the faculty;

o  Criteria for selecting participants and those who may receive scholarships;

o  Plans for recruiting potential participants and for publicizing the
availability of courses to the appropriate community of scholars and
scientists; Special attention will be given to plans for the recruitment of
women, minorities and individuals with disabilities;

o  Adequacy and availability of the institution's facilities, including the
library; and

o  Appropriateness of the requested budget for the proposed course.

Subsequent to GRRC review, the applications will be considered by the National
Advisory Council for Human Genome Research.

Award Criteria

Applications will compete for available funds with all other approved
applications.  The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

o  quality of the proposed project as determined by peer review;

o  extent to which the proposed course(s) will provide opportunities for
scientists to learn how to use the latest tools and information produced by
the Human Genome Project to facilitate their research; and availability of
funds;

INQUIRIES

Inquiries are encouraged, particularly during the planning phase of the grant
applications.  The opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from
potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Bettie J. Graham, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Research
National Human Genome Research Institute
Building 38A, Room 614
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone: (301) 496-7531
Email:  Bettie_Graham@nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Jean Cahill
Division of Extramural Research
National Human Genome Research Institute
Building 38A, Room 613
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 402-0733
Email:  Jean_Cahill@nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.172.  Awards will be made under the authority of the Public Health Service
Act, Sections 301 (Public Law 78-410, as amended 42 U.S.C. 241) and
administered under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52
and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental
review requirement of Executive Order 12372 or to Health Systems Agency
review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free
workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  In addition,
Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain
facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or
routine education, library, day care, health care or early childhood
development services are provided to children.  This is consistent with the
PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the
American People.


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