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The Jackson Laboratory Cooperative Predoctoral Training Program
Overview
The Cooperative Predoctoral Training Program of The Jackson Laboratory (JAX-CPTP) is a collaborative
and integrated program that provides focused research training opportunities in mammalian genetics and
clinical genomics for PhD trainees from a variety of academic institutions, on the JAX Bar Harbor (ME)
and Farmington (CT) campuses. Students in the JAX-CPTP follow degree requirements (e.g., courses,
laboratory rotations, etc.) stipulated by the individual academic programs in which each trainee is
enrolled. JAX-CPTP trainees are exposed to a diverse array of academic scientific courses as well as
opportunities to engage with an international array of leading scientists participating in courses and
conferences. Many required courses are conveniently offered via real-time interactive video conferencing
with local sites, so that students do not have to leave the JAX campuses. The overall aim of the JAXCPTP is to produce scientists fully and effectively engaged in mammalian genetics and genomics
research and its translation into diverse arenas and career opportunities. For trainees, their access to
excellence in research is enabled by strong, knowledgeable and supportive mentors, a rich scientific and
academic environment, and unparalleled scientific resources.
The JAX-CPTP attracts students with strong academic records, especially those with previous research
experience. Students come to JAX through direct contacts, through the participating academic programs,
and through interactions of JAX faculty with scientists at other institutions, nationally and internationally.
Formal cooperative agreements exist with the Tufts University Sackler School Genetics Program (“JAX
Track”), the University of Maine, Orono, Maine Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering
(GSBSE), the University of Connecticut Storrs and the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC).
Additionally, PhD students from other institutions who wish to conduct research on either of the JAX
campuses, e.g., foreign or short-stay students, can participate in the JAX-CPTP. Arrangements and
logistics for housing, video-conferenced classes, and programming, are facilitated by the JAX Genomic
Education (JGE) office and its Pre- and Postdoctoral Program Director.
Opportunities and Expectations of JAX-CPTP Trainees
JAX-CPTP trainees participate in leading research programs at the forefront of mammalian genetics and
genomics, and apply their genetic knowledge to human health and disease. This unique environment
offers students experiences and opportunities different from the typical graduate school program. At JAX,
predoctoral trainees are expected to participate in any of numerous scientific interest groups, journal
clubs and the stellar JAX seminar series. Additionally, JAX-CPTP trainees have the privilege of attending
many of the JAX courses and conferences, some of which are approved for academic credit at
cooperating institutions. As a part of this scientific community, JAX-CPTP trainees are expected to
present their research results to the JAX community at least once a year in any of these diverse venues.
Moreover, JAX is committed to the career development of each participant in the JAX-CPTP and offers
some financial support for trainees to present their research at professional meetings and conferences.
All predoctoral candidates in the JAX-CPTP have a JAX scientist as a primary mentor, and also form an
academic advisory committee comprised of both JAX scientists and faculty members of the student’s
home university program. Together these interactions constitute a strong professional mentoring network
to nurture the individual careers of each trainee. Trainees in the JAX-CPTP, by virtue of their full-time
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engagement in research, are expected to fulfill the research phase of their predoctoral training within four
years. Academic and scientific oversights of each trainee’s predoctoral career are maintained by the
Program Directors at the trainee’s sponsoring academic institution and the individual campus Faculty
Directors of the JAX-CPTP. For administrative coordination, the Pre- and Postdoc Program Director will
be kept appraised of trainees’ progress. Each JAX predoctoral trainee must meet all requirements of the
academic institution in which s/he is enrolled, including requirements for rotations, courses,
comprehensive examinations, committee composition and meeting frequency, publication requirements,
etc. In each case, the sponsoring institutions and the appropriate academic committees will administer
the academic program of each predoctoral candidate in collaboration with the JAX-CPTP.
All predoctoral trainees in the JAX-CPTP are exposed to numerous opportunities for career development
above and beyond their research involvement. Each trainee, in accordance with NIH guidelines, is
expected to evolve an Independent Career Development Plan (IDP) in collaboration with his/her faculty
mentoring team, the Faculty Director of the JAX-CPTP, and the Pre- and Postdoc Program Director.
Each trainee will attend the JAX “Whole Scientist™” short course, a four-day workshop that is designed
to expand the professional skills that lead to fulfilling science careers, and includes ethical
considerations, science communication, entrepreneurship, teaching and mentoring skills, and laboratory
management skills. Moreover, throughout each year, JAX offers for trainees seminars and workshops
covering a multitude of issues in ethical conduct of science, including CITI- Collaborative Institutional
Training Initiative online modules; trainees are expected to participate in four of these events per year of
residence. Overall, trainees in the JAX-CPTP are members of a vibrant community of pre- and postdoctoral fellows, participating in monthly science forums, training workshops and social gatherings.
Program Development and Infrastructure
Program Development and Oversight: The JAX campus-specific Faculty Directors of the JAX-CPTP shall
be responsible for programmatic development for the JAX-CTPT. The Faculty Directors, with the VicePresident for Education and the Vice-President for Research, shall be the primary interface for
institutional and admissions administration. The Pre- and Postdoctoral Training Committee and Pre- and
Postdoctoral Program Director will provide development and discussion of suggested career
development programs.
Trainee Liaisons: The campus Faculty Directors of the JAX-CPTP are the liaisons between each
predoctoral trainee and his/her sponsoring academic program. Each trainee has an academic/research
committee of supportive faculty members. Additionally, each trainee can turn to the Pre- and
Postdoctoral Training Committee, the campus-specific Scientific Directors of the JAX-CPTP, or the JGE
Pre- and Postdoctoral Program Director in any cases where conflict management is advisable.
Faculty Mentors: JAX research mentors for PhD trainees will provide sufficient funding, space and
resources to support the predoctoral trainee for the duration of a dissertation project; will provide
mentoring consistent with the trainee’s individual research and career development goals, will allow time
for their trainees to attend courses, seminars, and will be available regularly for the trainee and the
regular meetings of the trainee’s academic/research committee.
Logistical Support: The JGE office will work with each student to coordinate appropriately equipped
classroom space for participation in videoconference courses. The JGE office will also provide and
coordinate access to JAX housing for rotation students on the JAX Bar Harbor campus. The JAX-CPTP,
through the JGE office, will provide predoctoral trainees access to information about relevant funding
opportunities. The Pre- and Postdoctoral Program Director will provide oversight, management, and
development of current and new programs and opportunities for predoctoral trainees to engage in
training beyond their required courses and research program, such as the Science Forum (monthly
meetings to provide training workshops, discuss and identify new training needs, build a community of
pre- and postdocs) and the annual Whole Scientist™ workshop.
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In order to provide the housing and classroom support, it is imperative that incoming rotation students
contact JGE Program Administrator 60 days prior to arrival at JAX to secure housing and 30 days for
classroom space.
Financial Support: Stipend for each JAX-CPTP trainee is determined by agreements among cooperating
institutions, JAX and trainee research mentors. A common model is that stipend (and health benefits) for
the first one or two years is provided by the sponsoring academic institution, with subsequent funding
provided through mentor grants; other variations are possible depending on individual circumstances.
Current JAX contact list:
Traci Boddy, JGE Program Administrator
[email protected]
207.288.6272
Lisa John, JGE Pre and Postdoc Program Director
[email protected]
207.288.6924
Dr. Mary Ann Handel, Director of Predoctoral Program
[email protected]
207.288.6778
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