In December 2001, the NC State Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics went south for the summer—the summer Down Under, that is. After seven years of hosting over 1,000 participants from every continent at its unique and intensive summer workshops in Raleigh, the Institute was invited to Christchurch, New Zealand, to present a six-day curriculum following a joint meeting of Australian and New Zealand Statistics Societies. The course was sponsored by the New Zealand government and SAS New Zealand.

The “Southern Summer Institute” offered a series of modules with topics ranging from basic statistics or genetics to the more demanding quantitative trait locus mapping (QTL) and bioinformatics. The course is designed to fill the gaps between participants’ research and the latest information in the field of statistical genetics.

Seven statistics and genetics faculty members led by Dr. Bruce Weir, Director of the Bioinformatics Research Center, presented the curriculum to 100 participants from industry, government and academia. “The success of the Institute builds on the long-standing strengths at the interface of statistics and genetics in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences as well as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,” says Weir. “It compliments our recent move into bioinformatics.” Other participating faculty members included Drs. Chris Basten, Dahlia Nielsen, Greg Gibson, Sharon Browning, Spencer Muse and Shaobang Zeng.

“Word of mouth has become a very important component of our advertising,” says Weir. As a result of its success in Christchurch, the Institute has been invited by the Haughton Institute at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, to present the program for participants from across Europe in December 2002. In addition, the Institute has been invited to Australia in 2003 as part of the International Genetics Congress. Here in Raleigh, the longer, three-week Institute course will continue to be presented each summer by the Program in Statistical Genetics with NIH and NSF sponsorship.

Contributing writer: Jeanne-Marie Morlier

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