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NSF grant will support statistical genetics training for graduate students

Bruce Weir, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health, recently received a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support student scholarships for the Summer Institutes in Statistical Genetics (SISG). Weir serves as director of the institute.

As new molecular technologies reveal increasing amounts of data, researchers face new statistical challenges. But many students and investigators do not have access to courses that teach new methodologies for addressing these challenges. SISG fills this gap by providing introductory, graduate-level short courses that cover a wide range of statistical methods for current genetic data.

Classroom lecture UW Summer Institutes instructors Weir and Goudet
Bruce Weir and Jerome Goudet instruct the Statistical Genetics module at the Summer Institutes.

Now in its 25th year, SISG continues to evolve. Key areas of emphasis for 2020 include a focus on inclusive teaching, active learning, assessment planning, and recruitment of participants from diverse backgrounds.

Another challenge for 2020 is the transition of SISG to an online event. But Weir is excited about the accessibility of a virtual event and is confident SISG will provide high-quality, online learning experiences for participants.

“Our move to an online format this year has been received very positively by the statistical genetics community in the US and abroad. We expect to include an online component even once the covid-19 pandemic is over,” says Weir.

In addition to SISG, UW Biostatistics offers Summer Institutes in Statistics for Big Data, Statistics and Modeling in Infectious Diseases, and Statistics for Clinical and Epidemiological Research.