The goal of the Career Development Program (CDP) of the Pancreatic Cancer SPORE is to recruit and train basic and clinical investigators for translational pancreatic cancer research. We focus primarily on young investigators with a faculty appointment at the rank of Instructor, Assistant Professor, or Associate Professor in an appropriate basic science or clinical department at UMN, UAB, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) or Tuskegee University (TU). We propose to incorporate them into the ongoing SPORE research under the supervision of an experienced mentor team. Awardees will be exposed to and participate in the interdisciplinary and translational research emphasis of the SPORE and interact with SPORE investigators from all four institutions. Less commonly, the recipient may be an individual at a more senior level with a successful research record, who wishes to alter his/her career path to pancreatic cancer translational research. We expect the awardees to identify, develop and complete an appropriate research project and also to seek other career development awards and grant support as a part of the process of initiating a successful Independent research career and by so doing to further expand the SPORE translational research effort. Our overall strategy is to identify outstanding candidates, assign a mentor to assist with developing a pre-proposal for review by the CDP Subcommittee, and then assign the remainder of the mentor team, to include a statistician, to help with developing the full proposal. The full proposals will be reviewed by the CDP Subcommittee for selection of the final awardees. The mentor team would continue to work with the awardee for the duration of the award. We propose to award 2 Career Development awards/year with funding at $50,000/award. The annual budget of $100,000 per year is derived from the SPORE budget of UAB ($50,000) as well as UMN institutional funds of $50,000/year. The institutional career development funds are pooled with the individual federal CDP funds at each institution separately (UAB pool and UMN pool). We fund projects at each institution out of their individual pools, but scientific review and funding decisions are made by a single joint SPORE committee, the CDP Subcommittee. Projects funded for Tuskegee and Morehouse have subcontracts, and all awards do not allow indirect costs. In addition, UAB institutional funds of $750,000 will provide partial support for recruitment of a new Pancreatic Cancer SPORE recruit at UAB in the field of pancreatic cancer biology or immunology. This latter recruitment is to enhance the pancreatic cancer research faculty at UAB given the departure of Drs. Vickers and Yamamoto to UMN. Similarly, UMN has committed $1 million for the recruitment of two solid tumor biologists which may further strengthen their research in pancreatic cancer. Overall, we have strengthened the CDP proposal considerably with a new approach and have addressed strongly each of the identified weaknesses. The new approach focuses on UMN, UAB, MSM, and TU and was developed jointly by the UMN and UAB SPORE investigators and specifically included the Biostatistics Core and its Coordinating Committee containing faculty statisticians from both UMN and UAB. Statisticians specifically included were Drs. O. Dale Williams, Alan Cantor, Chap Le, Sreeletha Meleth and Sharina Person. Of these, Drs. Williams and Person have considerable experience with similar activities with MSM and TU in the Division of Preventive Medicine and the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) have ongoing career development activities with both institutions and participate in regular videoconferences with both. The overall strategy for implementing this new program is highlighted in Figure 1 in the text. The essence is that applicants will be solicited and assigned a primary mentor who will guide the development of a pre-proposal; pre-proposals will be reviewed for selection for a full proposal. A three member mentor team, to include a statistician, will be assigned to help guide the applicant in the development of a full proposal. The mentor team will remain with the applicants selected for funding and assist throughout the life of the award. We have a full complement of mentors, including faculty statisticians that will be needed for this process.

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University of Alabama Birmingham
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