The study of stem cells has shattered the concept of strict cell lineage restriction, has provided promising approaches to regeneration and has given a new perspective on the causes and treatments of cancers. The intent of the Stem Cell and Cancer Biology (SCCB) training grant at New York University School of Medicine is to provide training in this rapidly developing research field. It is our explicit goal to empower trainees with a deep understanding of the methods, principles and questions that provide the base of this new and likely transformative research area. Specifically, the SCCB program aims to train students and postdoctoral fellows in the fields of normal and cancer stem cell biology in order to elucidate mechanisms and pathways that when activated in an inappropriate manner in stem/progenitor cells contribute to malignant transformation. A long- term goal of the program is to train a new cadre of researchers whose broad and interdisciplinary knowledge of stem cell and cancer biology may result in a better understanding of the causes of cancer that may eventually lead to the development of new targeted therapies to treat tumors. The SCCB program focuses on enabling trainees to acquire the skills needed for successful careers as independent scientists in the cancer stem cell biology field by empowering them to develop independent and rigorous critical skills. The 16 SCCB mentors are highly productive scientists most of whom have NCI and other cancer related funding. They have trained a total of 72 students and 96 post-doctoral fellows in the past 10 years. The SCCB program will provide intellectually demanding pre- and postdoctoral training in a highly interactive scientific environment providing rigorous courses, tutorials, and seminars in a broad training environment that encourages diversity. Multi-tiered mentoring plans will allow monitoring of research progress. Trainees will also acquire the ability to critically evaluate scientific data and literature and will develop their writing and presentation skills. Training of students will include rigorous courses in Stem Cell Biology, Genetics and Molecular Oncology. All trainees will participate in the stem cell biology seminar series, an annual retreat, journal clubs and discussion groups as well as lectures focusing on ethical conduct in science and career options. Funds are requested to support 2 pre- and 4 postdoctoral trainees out of a total trainee group of 33 eligible pre- (based on 2009 admissions) and 110 eligible postdoctoral trainees (based on current postdoctoral trainee totals). These trainees will represent a new generation of scientists who can contribute to the development of novel therapies to treat malignant diseases.
This training program proposes to train pre- and postdoctoral students/fellows in the fields of normal and cancer stem cell biology in order to elucidate mechanisms and pathways that when activated in an inappropriate manner in stem/progenitor cells contribute to malignant transformation. Findings from these studies will contribute to a better understanding of the causes of cancer that may lead to the development of new targeted therapies to treat malignancies.
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