We propose to develop, implement and evaluate a new education and career development program at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida. The program will provide a specialized curriculum to prepare future academic researchers to integrate the latest technologies and full spectrum of outcomes (from risk to survival) in observational molecular and genetic epidemiology. Two postdoctoral fellows per year with advanced degrees in epidemiology, biostatistics, medicine or a related discipline will be recruited for a 2-3 year training program within this specialty area in cancer prevention and control that continues to see a shortage of qualified investigators. Fellows will participate in a multidisciplinary training experience that includes a core curriculum in molecular epidemiology, clinical oncology, cancer biology, plus special workshops in applied methodologies. Seminars developed for this training will include a survey of applications involving high-throughput advanced technologies and methods such as proteomics, genome-wide association studies, nanotechnology, gene expression profiling, and mathematical oncology that are leading the way to advances in screening, risk assessment, biomonitoring, and individual-based diagnosis and treatment, i.e. personalized medicine. In addition to the specialized curriculum in molecular epidemiology, a tailored program will be developed for each trainee that combines formal course work and hands-on experience in molecular, basic and clinical research under the guidance of at least two established investigators from different disciplines. In addition to a wide array of large, well-designed molecular and genetic epidemiologic studies, a unique asset for training at Moffitt is the availability of lifestyle, clinical and outcome data and biospecimens collected on many thousands of screening and cancer patients as part of Moffitt's Total Cancer Care research program. These resources afford an opportunity for trainees to apply study design and technology advances in personalized cancer care research. Each fellow will be required to define a research topic in the area of molecular or genetic epidemiology and write and defend a real or mock research grant or career development award application. Ongoing monitoring and over sight of the program by a dedicated faculty, and internal and external advisory boards, will ensure success in recruiting qualified candidates from multiple disciplines and backgrounds, and a training experience that prepares cancer researchers for careers in a rapidly changing, highly technical, interdisciplinary research environment.
Molecular and genetic epidemiology are at the forefront of advances in cancer risk assessment and personalized medicine. Currently, there is a shortage of scientists with specialized training in these areas. The proposed new postdoctoral fellowship program will provide interdisciplinary training and research experience needed for success in these rapidly advancing fields.
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