This revised, competitive renewal application seeks continued support of a young, but highly successful training program in Translational Cancer Biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) that funds four post-doctoral and two pre-doctoral trainees per year who are committed to careers in cancer research. The program attracts talented and motivated trainees who take advantage of the superb training environment to foster their careers in cancer research. Our pre-doctoral trainees have published in top-tier journals and obtained postdoctoral and faculty positions in cancer research at leading institutions, and postdoctoral trainees have secured jobs in academia and bio-tech. The program, which has strong institutional support, is based in the Department of Cancer Biology at UMMS but it includes faculty from most basic science and clinical departments. Indeed, a major strength of our program is that is integrates the cancer-related activities at UMMS into a unified program that is highly visible and effective as a training mechanism. Until the award of this grant, their had never been a formal training program in cancer biology at UMMS. This T32 has unified and strengthened cancer training and research at our institution. More specifically, we have achieved and intend to maintain and strengthen the original goals of this training program, which were to: provide a formal mechanism for outstanding training in cancer research; Increase the pool of highly qualified applicants including those from diverse backgrounds to our pre- and post- doctoral programs;facilitate inter-departmental cancer research;bridge basic and clinical cancer research;and enhance the visibility and prestige of cancer research at UMMS. A goal of this program is to provide trainees with an understanding and appreciation for cancer as a disease by exposing them to clinical cancer research and medicine. This goal is accomplished by the courses and activities offered, and through interactions with the UMASS Cancer Center of Excellence and the Center for Clinical and Translational Science. Trainees interact with clinicians by participating in disease-based clinical conferences of the Cancer Center (described below) and by collaborating with specific clinicians to facilitate their research and strengthen its clinical relevance and impact. This approach has been very effective and successful. The thirty faculty members participating in this program were selected based on their scientific achievements and track record of funding in cancer research, performance during the current funding period, and their passion and experience in mentoring trainees. Basic mechanisms of cancer genetics and cell biology, and translational cancer research are the major research interests of the program faculty. Our program fosters interactions and collaborations between basic and translational scientists that involve trainee participation.
This program will help train the next generation of cancer scientists with the ability and passion to translate their findings to the clinical management and amelioration of human cancer. To accomplish this goal, the program is designed to harness rigorous training in mechanistic cancer biology with an appreciation and understanding of clinical cancer medicine.
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