The Eppley Institute is an academic unit of the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) with its sole focus on cancer research. It is a major component of the NCI-designated UNMC Eppley Cancer Center, which is the only NCI-designated cancer center in a five state region from North Dakota to Texas. As such, the Eppley Institute and the Cancer Biology Training Program (CBTP) play an important regional role in training future basic and clinical scientists. We recruit from a national pool of predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows. The NCI Training Grant supports a key part of the CBTP, which currently has 39 predoctoral and 33 postdoctoral fellows in training. The CBTP faculty has a wide variety of expertise in areas important for a broad-based cancer biology training program, including biochemistry, molecular, cellular and structural biology, drug delivery, genetics, immunology, medicinal chemistry, pathology, pharmaceutics, and clinical oncology. A number of our trainees are directly involved in translational research activities, e.g. role of catechol estrogens in human breast cancer, tumor vaccine development, development of tumor markers for gastrointestinal and oral cavity malignancies, and a Rapid Pancreatic Autopsy Program for harvesting entire organs and selected tissue samples from patients who die of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. The goal of the training grant is to provide each doctoral student and postdoctoral fellow with the knowledge base, laboratory skills, and problem solving abilities to become independent, innovative cancer investigators.
The specific aims of the CBTP are to provide pre-and postdoctoral trainees with: (1) knowledge of the mechanisms of carcinogenesis, the pathology of human cancer, and the potential for cancer prevention;(2) an in depth background in the areas of basic science (biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, genetics, immunology, pharmacology, pharmaceutical sciences) that is necessary to study and understand the conversion of normal cells to cancer cells and to design methods of diagnosis and treatment;(3) the ability to apply this information to plan and conduct innovative research on the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer;and (4) an appreciation of the power of interdisciplinary research. To achieve these aims, the CBTP must be able to attract highly-qualified and motivated graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and provide them with high quality didactic and laboratory experiences.
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