Original NSF Proposal
"From the genome to the tree of life"
NSF Proposal Body Bibliography Initial Core Participant's statements
1. Results from Prior Support 5. Examples: Research Integrating Genomics / Phylogenetics
2. Background: Phylogenetics / Evolution 6. Proposed Coordination Activities
3. Background: Genomics 7. Management / Coordination Mechanisms
4. Theme: Research Coordination Group 8. Significance

Section 6: Proposed Coordination Activities


Because the two research communites we are attempting to integrate currently meet entirely independently of each other, we will sponsor activites at one meeting of each community every year. Therefore, one meeting each year will be held at a systematics/phylogenetics/evolution meeting (such as the Botanical Society of America and its associated smaller societies, or the Evolution meetings which are usually held in conjunction with the Society of Systematic Biologists). The other meeting each year will be held at a molecular biology/genomics meeting (such as the American Society of Plant Physiologists, the January "Plant and Animal Genome Meeting" held in San Diego, or the May Cold Spring Harbor Genomics meeting). Activities at these meetings will be modeled on the highly successful meetings of the Green Plant Phylogeny Research Coordination Group, and will contain both an open public venue and invited, small-group workshops. Presentations will be made in a public symposium, with opportunities for local students to interact with speakers. Small group discussions regarding future research will also take place; in these, invited participants will informally present their most recent results and discuss avenues for future research. Workshops will be specifically designed for cross-training between disciplines, for example, a workshop on phylogenetics for an audience of molecular biologists, or a workshop on genomics held for an audience of systematic biologists.

There will also be one network retreat per year. These will be hosted by one of the Core Participant's institutions (rotating around the country), and will involve an invitation to all Core Participants plus students in their labs (modeled after the very successful PEET workshops currently sponsored by NSF). Activities at these retreats will include updates on research activities, and educational workshops on new lab techniques, data analysis, informatics, etc.

WWW site

A major focus of the proposed phylogenomics RCN will be the use of the Internet to link researchers with each other, and the public at large. One important role of the phylogenomics Web page will be open sharing of information among professional scientists. Extending the sorts of information made available on the current "Deep Green" site, we will make available information on availability of genomic resources such as EST libraries, microarrays, cultures and living plants, extracted DNAs, etc. We will link to priority taxa lists maintained by the GPPRCG, so that molecular biologists can select taxa for comparison properly.

Another important role of the phylogenomics Web page will be the presentation of educational modules suitable for K-12 and university students. Following the model used at Berkeley by the award-winning University of California Museum of Paleontology web site (http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu), we will employ graduate students to develop content and presentation of the educational modules, supervised by Brent Mishler with the advice of RCN participants.

Formal training

The GPPRCG has always placed a heavy emphasis on student involvement and training. All of our previous workshops have included graduate students who are active in the field. The present proposal will continue that tradition, but will expand training activities from workshops and symposia into the laboratory, involving both undergraduate and graduate students.

Graduate students will be encouraged to rotate to other kinds of labs for an extended period of time. Thus, a student based at UC Berkeley working on systematics of mosses might spend a semester at Stanford learning how to construct cDNA libraries and DNA microarrays. Another student based at Texas Tech working mainly in molecular biology of desiccation-tolerant grasses might spend a semester at UMSL learning grass development and phylogenetics. Funds to support these exchange visits of graduate students will be awarded competitively by the Steering Committee, in all cases to support exchanges between different kinds of labs (e.g., between a systematics lab and a genomics lab). When making awards, a balance will be maintained between different research areas, labs, and regions of the country. Applications from under-represented groups will be especially solicited and encouraged (see "diversity" section below).

Undergraduate students will be encouraged to explore genomics and phylogenetics by means of summer internships for undergraduate students in participating labs. These will also be awarded competitively by the Steering Committee. When making awards, a balance will be maintained between different research areas, labs, and regions of the country. Applications from under-represented groups will be especially solicited and encouraged.

K-12 education

In addition to the extensive materials that will be developed for the website mentioned above, we will concentrate our efforts in knowlege transfer to the public by reaching out to teachers. We will organize one weekend workshop per year for K-12 teachers. These will be rotated around the country over the 5 years of the grant, hosted by one of the Core Participant's institutions, and will be advertised regionally with the goal being to attract teachers to learn about the latest results in plant genomics and phylogenetics, and provide them with knowledge and skills to transmit these results to the classroom. Every effort to attract teachers from lower-income school districts will be made.

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