Thursday, December 18, 2014

CardioGxE analysis would not be so rich without the help of students

In late October we published a paper on a catalog of cardiometabolic gene-environment interactions pulled from over 380 publications. That paper is entitled "CardioGxE, a catalog of gene-environment interactions for cardiometabolic traits" and represents, among many other aspects of my research, the benefit and satisfaction of giving first-year nutrition graduate students the opportunity to engage in research and contribute important results to a larger research effort.

Lately, I have had several opportunities to guide students of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy during a practicum or directed study. I often try hard to find a project that will contribute directly to something we have ongoing that also has good potential to be published in the near future. That does not always come to be, but for our CardioGxE paper such was the case. Four of my co-authors were first-year grad students, and another three were more senior. Particularly for these four younger students, they each made unique and important contributions to the analyses we present in the paper. Our paper would not have the impact it is currently enjoying nor be as complete in showing the utility of gene-environment interactions without their work. Thank you to you all!

Which brings me to my main point: Consider well the abilities that a group of students can bring to your project. Engaging them as equals, as true colleagues, could very well facilitate a project's completion and publication. And, if those students are now authors, say on their first paper, that makes it very nice all around.

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