Program Description & Curriculum

The Mass General Brigham Training Program in Precision & Genomic Medicine is designed to provide rigorous, interdisciplinary training of postdoctoral scientists in the translational of genomic, clinical and computational sciences that are driving a new era of precision and genomic medicine. The program is geared toward physician-scientists as well as clinically-oriented PhD scientists intending to develop careers in precision or genomic medicine.

To accomplish this, the Program offers a combination of didactic experiences, mentored research projects, and training in technical and leadership skills across 4 key domains of P&GM;

Domain Scope
Medical Genetics/ Genomics Discovery and annotation of rare and common DNA variants associated with human disease and resilience; penetrance
Molecular Medicine Laboratory-based dissection of disease mechanism and identification and/or validation of therapeutic targets related to “omic” variation
Data Science Statistical genetics; machine learning and other “big data” methods; bioinformatics; medical informatics
Implementation Science Genetic and diagnostic testing; translation and implementation of genomic findings to clinical practice; cost-effectiveness and ELSI issues


Core Rotations, Didactics and Conferences:

Embedded Rotations (Months 1-2).All fellows will begin their training experience with a series of four 2-week rotations in faculty groups covering each of the four domains of emphasis: Medical Genetics/Genomics (MGG), Data Science (DS), Molecular Medicine (MM), and Implementation Science (IS).

Core Didactics.Fellows will be required to participate in a series of didactic offerings designed to cover the essential knowledge base for research and career development in P&GM. Didactics also provide an important opportunity for fellows to interact with their peers and with faculty mentors in a small group setting.

  1. Foundations of Precision and Genomic Medicine (First year fellows, months 1 – 4). A weekly seminar featuring interactive lectures by program faculty covering the four domains of emphasis. A four-week block of lectures will be devoted to each domain.
  2. Research Career Development Seminar (Second Year Fellows, months 1 – 2) This is a weekly seminar designed to address the “soft skills” involved in launching a research career. Led each week by a faculty mentor, the seminar topics will include: strategies for identifying and obtaining funding; grantsmanship pointers; how to identify job opportunities and give job talks; setting up an independent lab; work-life balance; and others.
  3. P&GM Fellows Research Seminar (biweekly beginning month 5). This core seminar is designed to provide opportunities for fellows to develop and present their research projects and receive constructive feedback from program faculty and their trainee peers.
  4. P&GM Journal Club (biweekly, alternating with Fellows Research Seminar, beginning month 5). The Journal Club will provide a crucial opportunity for fellows to stay abreast of cutting- edge research, benefit from interchange with expert faculty, and enhance their skills at presenting and interpreting research findings.
  5. Responsible Conduct of Omics Research (RCR Omics)– Year 2

Core Conferences. Fellows will be required to attend at least two of these conferences each month:

  1. CGM Genomic Medicine Seminar (biweekly).
  2. Broad Medical and Population Genetics Program (MPG) Meeting (weekly).
  3. Brigham Genomic Medicine Conference (weekly).

Individualized Didactic Program. With guidance from each trainee’s Mentorship Committee, trainees will develop an individualized educational plan in their areas of research interest to supplement their participation in the Core Didactics and Core Conferences described above. This requirement can be fulfilled by attending 1) short courses that offered through the Harvard Catalyst, the MGH Division of Clinical Research Omics Unit (Dr. Smoller, Director), and the Broad Institute’s Seminars or 2) semester courses offered by the Harvard Department of Biomedical Informatics or the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Mentored Research and Career Development:

The mentored research component is the heart of the training experience. It is through this hands-on immersion in research that trainees will focus their research interests, experience the full spectrum of the research process (hypothesis generation, study design, human subjects approval, application of methods and technologies, and presentation and publication of findings). A listing of mentors can be found on the Training Program Faculty page.

Mentorship Team. In keeping with the inherently interdisciplinary nature of P&GM research, trainees will be expected to select two mentors from different domains of the program (MGG, MM, DS, and IS). A Mentorship Committee will be formed for each trainee comprising a Primary Mentor (in their primary domain of interest), a Secondary Mentor (in a secondary domain), and the two Program Directors (Drs. Smoller and Rehm).

Mentored Research Projects. Each trainee will develop research projects under the supervision of their Primary faculty mentor and with guidance from the Mentorship Team. For most trainees, the primary research projects will integrate components of at least two of the four domains (MGG, DS, MM, IS). With this guidance, trainees will play a leading role in all aspects of the research projects from hypothesis generation through publication). In addition to their primary research projects, trainees will also typically contribute to one or more other research projects in their Primary or Secondary Mentor’s labs. We expect that by the end of the training period, a typical t rainee will be first author on two publications and a contributing author on one or more additional publications.

Annual Retreat.In June of each year, we will hold an annual full-day retreat. The retreat will provide an important opportunity to convene the full training program community: trainees, all faculty mentors, and the External Advisory Board (EAB).

NHGRI Research Training and Career Development Annual Meeting. Each year T32 trainees along with the Program Directors, program coordinator, and up to two faculty mentors will attend the annual meeting. This meeting will provide an ideal opportunity for trainees to network with other trainees, external faculty, and NHGRI staff. It will also provide our training staff an important opportunity to learn and share best practices and approaches to training in genomic medicine.

Summary of Program Schedule by Year
Year 1 Year 2
Embedded Rotations 2-week rotations in 4 domains (Months 1-2)
Core Didactics Foundations of P&GM (Months 1-4) Research Career Seminar (Months 1-2)
P&GM Fellows Research Seminar (biweekly) P&GM Journal Club (biweekly)
Conferences CGM Genomic Medicine Seminar (biweekly)
Broad Institute Medical and Population Genetics Meeting (weekly)
RCR Instruction Partners RCR Program RCR Omics
Annual Meetings NHGRI Research Training and Career Development Annual Meeting (Spring)
Annual Partners Training Program in P&GM Retreat (June)
Individualized Didactic Options Short courses through Harvard Catalyst, Broad Institute, MGH Div. of Clinical Research
Semester courses through Harvard DBMI, MIT, or Harvard School of Public Health
Mentored Research Research Projects Under Supervision of Primary (+/- Secondary) Mentor
Mentorship Meetings Primary Mentor: weekly to monthly
Secondary Mentor: monthly (or more frequently as needed) Mentorship Committee: every 4 months
Mentorship Committee: every 4 months
Annual Career Conference: Month 12 and Month 24