The Oncology Research Training Program has been in existence for 30 years and was developed with the primary goal of preparing physician-trainees for careers in academic oncology. The rationale for training in oncology research is three fold: (1) Cancer remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the US;(2) There is a need to maintain momentum that has been achieved in our fundamental understanding of carcinogenesis (particularly in the molecular pathogenesis of cancer);and (3) There is a need to translate progress gained in the laboratory to the development of new strategies for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer. Research training themes of the Program are based on the investigative interest and expertise of 27 well-established and extramurally-funded faculty members in the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Internal Medicine and the Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Michigan (UMCCC) (which includes faculty with appointments in other clinical and basic science departments). These research training themes in the current application are: (1) Molecular-genetic mechanisms of neoplastic transformation, aberrant signaling, and metastasis, (2) Biomarkers in cancer prevention and therapy;(3) Cancer stem cells;(4) Molecular targets of drug discovery and experimental therapeutics of cancer;and (5) Immunological approaches to cancer therapy. Trainees will be exposed to research opportunities across the spectrum from basic laboratory research to translational and clinical research, with the long-term goal of establishing an academic career in cancer research in one of these areas and being paired with an appropriate mentor. It is expected that trainees selected for this program will spend 2- 3 years in the laboratory or relevant clinical research environment under the direct supervision of a training program faculty mentor and will develop skills in: (1) Identifying testable hypotheses that address important questions in oncology research;(2) Acquiring the necessary technical expertise to test the hypotheses identified;(3) Critically evaluating the data generated;and (4) Developing the necessary skills of written and oral communication to promulgate conclusions made. The majority of trainees will have an MD degree or MD/PhD degrees, 3 years of house officer training in Internal Medicine and a year of clinical subspecialty training in medical oncology/hematology. MD trainees with limited prior research experience will be encouraged to participate in an intensive 3 month postdoctoral research training program (directed and taught by Training Program faculty) to introduce them to important concepts in cellular and molecular biology. The ultimate goal of the program is to prepare trainees for careers in academic oncology as independent faculty members of schools of medicine at research universities.
The goal of the Oncology Research Training Program is to teach MD or MD/PhD candidates cancer specialists-in-training the skills necessary to pursue careers in cancer research so that they can contribute to the development of advances in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.
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