The Cancer Prevention and Control (CPC) Program at the Arizona Cancer Center (AZCC) has developed a highly multi- and inter-disciplinary environment in which to train postdoctoral fellows. The primary purpose of this proposal is to continue this training program in which students can acquire the didactic and research experiences needed to successfully pursue a collaborative post-graduate career in cancer prevention and control. To achieve this goal, the proposed program will take advantage of a unique set of existing training opportunities resulting from the cooperative activities of the AZCC, the University of Arizona and our sister, minority university, Northern Arizona University. This training program will use the infrastructure provided by the R25T to continue to expand a successful fellowship program whose graduates have gone on to launch successful research careers in cancer prevention and control. The proposed program enables R25T fellows to obtain expertise in cancer prevention and control research through: 1) curriculum-based training;2) strong AZCC CPC leadership;3) specialized interdisciplinary research experiences in multiple disease sites;and 4) the NCI-funded faculty mentoring team. The research environment at the AZCC allows for a rich and unique training experience, which includes numerous opportunities in basic science, applied and translational research, an inter- and multi-disciplinary environment. The R25T Program Directors work closely with CPC faculty mentors to form a cohesive team for the individualized training of our postdoctoral fellows. The R25T Advisory Committee has the responsibility to ensure that fellows are selected carefully and monitored consistently throughout the fellowship. There is a need within the field of cancer prevention and control for scientists able to work and thrive in multi- and inter-disciplinary teams. Accordingly, the AZCC R25T training program exposes fellows to the breadth of disciplines within CPC while enabling them to focus on a primary research project from which to base future grant applications and publications.
The AZCC R25T Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program was first funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1998. The program supports 4 postdoctoral fellows annually. The AZCC R25T Program was developed to train qualified candidates in a diverse experiential environment within the University of Arizona Cancer Prevention and Control Program (CPC) at the Arizona Cancer Center (AZCC). The Fellowship Program is directed by David S. Alberts, M.D., Iman Hakim M.D., Ph.D., and Elena Martinez, Ph.D. The broader goal of this R25T training program has been to create a rigorous multidisciplinary research training program that attracts highly qualified postdoctoral candidates and offers them the academic and research experience that supports a successful and productive career in cancer prevention and control. This training program has been designed to expose postdoctoral fellows to the broad array of scientific disciplines that contribute to the field of cancer prevention and control, including epidemiology, biostatistics, nutritional science, behavioral science, cancer biology, and clinical medicine, while fostering the fellows'excellence in their areas of primary research. R25T Fellows, selected from a range of primary disciplines relevant to cancer prevention and control (CPC), will be grounded in a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention and control through formal coursework, seminar series, workshops, conferences, interactions with mentors, and activities that are focused around the fellow's primary research project. The training program includes clear primary and secondary scientific and academic goals, constructive scientific criticism from top-level mentors, and support for presentation and publication of results. Mentoring is a key component of the fellowship program. The primary mentor is identified during the application process;primary mentors will have the lead mentoring role throughout the training of R25T fellows. All research, training, and career development activities are overseen by a mentoring team. R25T faculty mentors each have extensive training and research experience and offer fellows the necessary direction to successfully complete a mentored research project as well as to establish a career in cancer prevention and control. The primary mentors in the program all participate as principal investigators on a number of externally funded research projects. In addition to the mentoring team, the R25T program has an Advisory Committee that provides an additional level of mentoring and training oversight. This committee reviews the progress of each fellow and provides recommendations and guidance to further ensure the success of each fellow accepted into this program. To support the multidisciplinary training of young investigators, the training program requires that fellows engage in a primary research project and engage coursework in cancer prevention disciplines in which they may have had minimal exposure during their graduate careers. Fellows are also required to attend the CPC seminar series, which exposes them to a wide variety of research topics and disciplines in the field. Additionally, fellows are required to submit their work for presentation and publication, attend scientific and career development meetings, and develop a grant proposal for research funding. At completion of the program, we expect that all R25T fellows are prepared to proceed to successful and productive careers contributing to decreases in morbidity of and mortality from cancer.
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