Dramatic expansion of biomedical data in the post-genomic era on various organisms, including humans, has disclosed the enormous complexity of biological systems and increased our knowledge of many disease processes. This is particularly evident in reference to neoplastic disorders where molecular technologies on a genome, epigenome, transcriptome and proteomic scale have disclosed unique molecular pathways and their networks that provide significant information concerning therapeutic strategies and clinical outcomes. This in turn has affected the standard of practice of many medical disciplines including pathology. The newly developed concept of personalized and targeted therapies in cancer medicine increased and changed the traditional roles of pathology as a clinical discipline. The expanding molecular testing of tumors, with complex technologic approaches, requires a redesign of the conventional microscopic pathology services. This T32 proposal is intended to provide resources to train a new generation of pathologists via laboratory-based research training that will complement the current Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited clinical fellowship programs of the Department of Pathology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The goal of this program is to train the next generation of physician/scientist pathologists capable of combining the conventional role of diagnostic pathology with investigative molecular approaches. To accomplish this goal, a focused 2-year research program will pair trainees with experienced educators who are also accomplished translational researchers. The trainees will work in their mentors'laboratories training in laboratory methods, processes, and team orientation needed in today's translational research. The graduates of this program will complete research projects aimed at improving patient care with patient-directed personalized treatment, concluding with the submission of a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal. Coursework and a wide range of educational opportunities at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center will complement the laboratory research training. Combined with subspecialty clinical training, this program will produce extremely well-qualified academic, research-oriented pathologists who can, by themselves, be independent researchers and future academic mentors.
This research training program is especially relevant to Public Health as evolving cancer treatment modalities moves into molecularly targeted and individualized therapies. Therefore, well-trained molecular pathologists who have proven diagnostic skills coupled with laboratory- based research training will be critical in delivering te contemporary cancer care.
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