Center for Combinatorial Gene Regulation Launches Genomic Scholars Program

By Eden Harris


The genetics and genomics workforce lacks diversity and does not represent the U.S.
population. According to the American Society of Human Genetics, it is reported that only 1.5%
of the genetic and genomics workforce identify as African-American or Black. Building diversity
in this field of science is imperative because it fosters change in health issues that are widely
affected by genomics and genetics.

To support expanding diversity in this area, the Center for Combinatorial Gene Regulation (CCGR) is excited to launch the new Genomics Scholars Program (GSP), which will help undergraduate students understand the biology of data repositories, gain access to those repositories, and utilize the data in their own research as they immerse themselves in cutting edge-research tools on their own. 

GSP opening session
Opeyemi Olabisi, MD PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, presents opening lecture for the Genomic Scholars Program resource workshop series.

The program consists of an interactive workshop series, where students learn about the human
genome, gene variation and regulation, and clinical application. Scholars are encouraged to formulate their own research questions to contribute to research such as the causes of disease and genomics. They also network with CCGR collaborators for future research and internships.

Genomic Scholars are mentored by Duke faculty across multiple disciplines including clinicians, geneticists, and bioinformaticians. They learn about career pathways within the genomics workforce and are encouraged to take the next steps in building diversity in these areas. The program also teaches students how to utilize resources and data made widely available to the public.

Tim Reddy, PhD, Principal Investigator of CCGR said, “Making the data publicly available
means that the whole world can benefit from those efforts that are completed in other labs, so
what's exciting about these genome sets is they're so available. A high school student sitting at
home on their computer can start downloading genomes and doing analyses.”

The program is open to undergraduate students with priority to students from Historically Black
Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) interested in clinical research, biological sciences, and
computation or programming.

Stay tuned for additional information about program dates, application deadlines and more.