Division of Biostatistics
The Division of Biostatistics offers two training programs in Genetic Epidemiology: a postdoctoral master's degree (GEMS) and a certificate program. These programs provide a multidisciplinary educational opportunity for people who want to work at the dynamic nexus of genetics and medicine. There are growing needs for scientists with this training, both in academia and industry. With the wealth of data from the Human Genome Project and the availability of powerful new computational approaches, abundant opportunities are now available to explore and characterize the interplay between genes and the environment that affect the biological processes that underlie disease.
NIH-Sponsored Training Programs
The PRIDE Summer Institute in Cardiovascular Genetics and Epidemiology (CVD-CGE) with a focus on cardiovascular and other heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders in an all-expense-paid summer institute that continues in the summer of 2019 with funding from the NHLBI. The goal is to mentor junior faculty from underrepresented minorities and/or faculty with disabilities into independent research careers in biomedical sciences. For more information, visit the PRIDE-CGE website or email the program administrator.
The Division holds a postdoctoral T32 training grant in cardiovascular genetic epidemiology from the NIH. This training grant is available to PhDs and MDs with a background in quantitative sciences or cardiovascular sciences or with experience in statistical genetics and genetic epidemiology. Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents to be eligible. For more information, visit our Research Training webpage, contact the program administrator at 314-362-3697, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about our Genetic Epidemiology training programs, including the Master of Science in Genetic Epidemiology (GEMS) or the certificate, please visit the Degrees & Requirements section of this page.
The Division of Biostatistics includes world-renowned scientific leaders in their respective areas. D.C. Rao, PhD, director of the Division of Biostatistics and the program director, is one of the founding fathers of the field.
Training programs begin on approximately July 1 each year, with preparatory workshops followed by intensive summer semester courses. For the fall courses, the programs follow the calendar of the College of Arts & Sciences.
Those interested in applying for a training program or in learning more information may email the program manager.
The program is located in the Division of Biostatistics on the fifth floor of the Bernard Becker Medical Library, Rooms 500-508.
Division of Biostatistics
660 S. Euclid Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110-1093
Since genetic epidemiology is a multidisciplinary field, we expect applicants to come from a variety of backgrounds. However, most who apply to this program have earned terminal degrees, such as physician-scientists and other clinical investigators, particularly postdoctoral fellows and people with terminal degrees in other (related) disciplines who seek to gain expertise in genetic epidemiology. All prospective students must provide evidence of basic skills in genetics, mathematics and computer programming through course work, documented experience or by passing a proficiency exam.
Master of Science in Genetic Epidemiology
An option for those who have completed a doctoral degree (PhD, MD, or equivalent) is to pursue a postdoctoral Master of Science in Genetic Epidemiology (GEMS) degree. The 30-credit-hour program can be pursued either full time or part time but must be completed within three years.
The GEMS program for postdoctoral students has eight core courses, listed below, as well as 6 credits of approved electives:
|MSB 503||Statistical Computing with SAS||2|
|MSB 506||Introduction to R for Data Science||2|
|MSB 515||Fundamentals of Genetic Epidemiology||3|
|MSB 550||Introduction to Bioinformatics||3|
|MSB 5483||Human Genetic Analysis||3|
|MSB 560||Biostatistics I||3|
|MSB 512||Ethics in Biostatistics and Data Science||2|
|MSB 600||Mentored Research||6|
|Elective: Student will work with adviser on elective options||6|
Certificate in Genetic Epidemiology
The 19-credit-hour certificate program is designed to prepare students to work at the interface of genetics, biostatistics, epidemiology and computing. The Certificate in Genetic Epidemiology is earned after successful completion (with a minimum of a B average) of seven core courses plus labs that are normally offered to master's candidates in Biostatistics. To earn the certificate, these courses may be taken over one or two consecutive years:
|MSB 503||Statistical Computing with SAS (summer)||2|
|MSB 560||Biostatistics I (summer)||3|
|MSB 506||Introduction to R for Data Science (summer)||2|
|MSB 570||Biostatistics II (fall)||3|
|MSB 515||Fundamentals of Genetic Epidemiology (fall)||3|
|MSB 550||Introduction to Bioinformatics (fall)||3|
|MSB 5483||Human Genetic Analysis (fall)||3|
Research activities of the division span a wide range of topics relevant to a number of disease areas, and they provide research opportunities at both theoretical and applied levels. Several research projects involve close interaction and collaboration with a number of research groups at the Washington University Medical Center. Independent research programs of the division involve the genetic epidemiology of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, bioinformatics and statistical issues in imaging sciences, and Alzheimer's disease. A number of theoretical and applied problems are addressed, including nature-nurture resolution and the identification of the genetic basis of risk factor domains such as lipids, obesity, blood pressure and hypertension, and insulin resistance and diabetes; the exploration of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions; and multivariate associations among multiple risk factors.
Our current and recent collaborative research projects include the following:
- A coordinating center for a multicenter study to assess the genetic basis of response to exercise training (HERITAGE)
- A coordinating center for a multicenter study of the effectiveness of a weight loss treatment implemented in primary care
- A coordinating center for a multicenter NETWORK study of the genetics of hypertension (HyperGEN) and the Family Blood Pressure Program (FBPP)
- Coordinating centers for a multicenter study to assess the genetic basis of response to intervention through the incorporation of gene-environment interactions (Gensalt)
- The coordinating center for the PRIDE program, with the goal of mentoring junior faculty from underrepresented minorities and/or faculty with disabilities into independent research careers in the biomedical sciences
- The coordinating center for the Data Analysis and Coordinating Center (DACC), which tracks the education and careers of people who have participated in the NHGRI Diversity Action Plan (DAP) and in NHGRI T32s that concentrate on genomics and genetics
- Important collaborative studies through support roles as biostatistics cores for the Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences, the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, the Adult Children's Study, Healthy Aging and Senile Dementia (HASD), the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN), the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, the Silent Infarct Transfusion Study, the Optimization of Chemotherapy for Control and Elimination of Onchocerciasis, the Washington University Spotrias Center, the Washington University Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Research Center, and Childhood Obesity Treatment
In addition, we play a significant role in studies that focus on lung transplants, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pediatric heart disease and ischemic heart disease. We are also part of several epidemiological research projects developing methods for increasing public awareness and utilization of measures that are known to decrease the likelihood of developing heart disease and for encouraging behaviors that will improve prognosis after a heart attack.
For course information, please visit the Biostatistics page of this Bulletin.