The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) requests NCI support for an innovative, unique, and intensive one-week educational experience (Integrative Molecular Epidemiology Workshop) to be repeated annually to accelerate the training of the next generation of cancer researchers who must be well-skilled in the integration of biology and epidemiology in studies of etiology and outcome. Of particular importance is the need to educate researchers in integrating modern and rapidly evolving "omics" technologies into state-of-the-art molecular epidemiology, as well the need to become facile in integrating diverse and high dimensional data. The Workshop is primarily targeted toward molecular epidemiologists, but the materials are designed to also be appropriate for geneticists, statisticians, bioinformaticians, molecular biologists, physician scientists and other who have completed basic coursework in epidemiology. The highly qualified faculty assembled to teach this workshop have expertise that spans these disciplines ensuring that all materials are of the highest quality and the most relevant content. The program will be reviewed annually by distinguished scientists who serve on the Board of Directors of the AACR, a scientific society of 35,638 members worldwide working in all aspects of basic, clinical, and translational cancer research. It is expected that the majority of the 50 attendees will be postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty, but a few advanced graduate students and mid-level/senior faculty will be eligible to participate. Based on our experiences with other courses, we expect the application process to be highly competitive, with at least twice the number of applications for the slots available. What will distinguish the focus of the workshop is the application of these technologies and approaches within an epidemiologic framework. Thus, all lectures and laboratories will be cognizant of issues like feasibility, scalability, quality control, and practical limitations. Forml didactic lectures will take place in the mornings with extensive time for discussion. Afternoons will be devoted to "laboratories" building upon the information provided in the morning lectures with problem- solving sessions and "hands-on" applications of statistical and bioinformatics methods. Participants will work collaboratively in small groups throughout the duration of the workshop. Cooperative group learning and problem solving activities will be used to ensure lively and active discussion with engaged learners. Finally, we will evaluate learning with measurable outcomes for the workshop overall and for individual lectures and laboratories. AACR has experienced staff and an excellent track record for administering other educational Workshops.
The Integrative Molecular Epidemiology Workshop is designed to accelerate the training of the next generation of cancer researchers who must be well-skilled in the integration of biology and epidemiology in studies of etiology and outcome. There is a need for rapid and efficient translation of the emerging wealth of genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic information to initiatives for cancer prevention and early detection, as well as to those for improving patient management. Inevitably this will mandate a growing emphasis on molecular epidemiology research and the application of research approaches intrinsic to epidemiology to other aspects of translational research.