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Penn CIGHT Postdoctoral Traineeships: February 1
January 15, 2008, Volume 54, No. 17

The Penn CIGHT postdoctoral training program is currently recruiting promising junior investigators who are interested in developing research skills and expertise in the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of human genetics and genomics. The training program is sponsored by  the Center for the Integration of Genetic Healthcare Technology at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn CIGHT), a multidisciplinary, NIH-funded research center focused on studying ELSI-related aspects of uncertainty engendered by new genetic technologies, including genetic tests and therapeutics.

The overall goal of the Penn CIGHT is to develop tools that will help educate consumers, professionals, policy makers, and insurers understand and cope with the implications of advances in genetic research. The center’s initial projects include (1) a historical and sociological analysis of the ethical, legal, and social consequences of prenatal testing for cystic fibrosis and Down syndrome; (2) an assessment from the perspective of patients, providers and third party payers of the utility of a genetic test to identify the likelihood of future disease susceptibility, using one single-gene disorder, as an example; and (3) an evaluation of the long-term psychological, social, and medical effects of genetic testing and counseling for breast cancer on African American women and their families.

The Penn CIGHT postdoctoral training program is a multidisciplinary, integrative 1-2 year experience. It includes three primary components:

1. A mentored research project designed and conducted by the trainee in collaboration with his/her mentors.

2. Involvement in the activities of the center including monthly conferences, annual retreats, research progress meetings, and linkages to the five other ELSI Centers of Excellence.

3.  Individualized training experiences designed to match the research area and interests of the trainee.

Each trainee will be linked to one or more mentors from the Penn CIGHT faculty. The list of potential mentors is broad and includes experts from multiple schools at Penn, including the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, the School of Arts and Sciences, the Annenberg School for Communication, and the Wharton School.  Trainees and their mentors can compete for pilot research funding through the Penn CIGHT.

The Penn CIGHT postdoctoral training program is appropriate for individuals from a wide range of backgrounds relevant to research in the ethical, legal and social implications of genomic technology. Individuals with a doctoral degree in the humanities, the social and behavioral sciences, genetics and other basic sciences, nursing and medicine are encouraged to apply. All underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply. Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents (Green Card holder) and must have received no more than four years of NRSA funding by the time of appointment.  The stipend includes individual health benefits.

Individuals interested in applying should submit (1) a recent curriculum vitae including previous research experience, (2) a personal statement describing their reason for pursuing this training program and their potential research interests, limited to one page; and, (3) a letter of recommendation from their training director or doctoral committee chairperson/advisor. The deadline for submission is February 1, 2008. Applicants will be notified of the selection committee decision by April 1, 2008.  Traineeships can begin in the period between June-September, 2008.

Mail applications to:  Penn CIGHT, 538 Maloney, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104 or e-mail:  penncight@uphs.upenn.edu. For additional information, contact Dr. Reed E. Pyeritz, at reed.pyeritz@uphs.upenn.edu.

–Reed E. Pyeritz, Professor of Medicine and Genetics, Director of the Penn CIGHT

Almanac - January 15, 2008, Volume 54, No. 17