ISR Awards

Genomics for Social Scientists: 2022-2027

In this application, we propose to continue the aims of R25 AG053227 Genomics for Social Scientists by offering two annual summer workshops, one a week-long introduction to genomics and another 4-day workshop focused on epigenetics. This doubles the number of courses offered by including the epigenetics course that was created with a recent supplement. In addition to an expanded series of online modules based on aspects of the course we have found particularly well-suited to online instruction, these courses will build the capacity of social and behavioral scientists to understand and conduct genomic (i.e. DNA, epigenetics, telomere length, etc.) research using NIA-funded resources, such as the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal study of Ageing (NICOLA), and The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). Our proposed R25 Research Education Program will expand the opportunity for social science researchers using these data to integrate genomics into their research by 1) offering two annual in-person and virtual training workshops with a hands-on lab component, 2) creating a series of online tutorials that can augment the workshop or serve as stand-alone exercises, and 3) linking these custom tools with resources already available on the web (i.e. facilitating more efficient use of resources typically unknown to most social scientists). The courses and supporting material will focus on providing training for researchers working at the intersection of genomic and social science research, using HRS data as a model, but broadly applicable to any social science study with genomic data. We will cover a biological overview of genomics, collection of genomic material in population-based studies, as well as an introduction to current quality control metrics and statistical methods for studying human complex traits. Hands-on analysis is an integral part of each course and will utilize tutorial versions of the HRS core survey data and files similar to the HRS genetic and epigenetic data files accessed using a secure virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Our team consists of experts linking social science and genomic data in their own aging research, including collecting, assaying, and analyzing genomic samples and data. Moreover, this team has taught over 180 students in 7 different courses over the last 5 years. Evaluations of the course have been very positive and each year the course material has improved and been modified to better fit the needs of the students and stay up to date with developing methodologies. Students have demonstrated tremendous potential for impact on the field publishing nearly 400 articles using genomic data thus far. Ultimately our goal is that through discussion and by example we will focus on the unique aspects of analyzing genetic and epigenetic data in combination with social science data to facilitate collaboration across disciplines for the workshop attendees.

Funding:

Health and Human Services, Department of-National Institutes of Health

Funding Period:

08/15/2022 to 04/30/2027