The multidisciplinary UAB "Research Training Program in Basic and Translational Oncology" is focused on training highly motivated pre-doctoral students as well as PhD and MD graduates in the fields of translational and fundamental oncology. Major strengths of the program include the broad expertise and research interests of its faculty, encompassing tumor immunology, cancer genetics, mouse models of cancers, statistical genetics, next-generation sequencing of various cancers, preclinical models of novel targeted therapies, as well as phase 1 and phase 2 clinical studies. In the first year two postdoctoral trainees will be selected from the hematology/oncology fellowship program and among a large pool of postdoctoral fellows conducting oncology research at UAB. Their training will last up to three years. The training program will grow into three postdoctoral fellows and one pre-doctoral student by year two and three of the five year training program, respectively. The postdoctoral trainees with a MD, PhD or equivalent terminal degree will be selected on the basis of prior academic and research performance, letters of recommendations, and personal interviews. This will include highly qualified students from the Medical Scientist Training Program. While this is a new application, UAB had an active hematology research training program from 1991 until 2004 when the former cancer center director and the former division of hematology/oncology director resigned. A new cancer center director was appointed in 2007 and a new director of the division of hematology/oncology was appointed in 2008. Under this new leadership a large number of well-funded investigators with a focus on cancer research have been hired and strengthen an already very strong core of oncology researchers. Because a large number of the faculty members is involved in the care of patients with a diagnosis of cancer in addition to their research programs, the program offers an optimal interface between basic and applied oncology.
The multidisciplinary UAB Research Training Program in Basic and Translational Oncology is focused on training highly motivated pre-doctoral students and PhD and MD graduates in the fields of fundamental and clinical oncology. Our trainees are selected for their commitment to research and academic medicine. The success of their future investigator-initiated studies, which are best represented by R01-caliber projects, requires the development of skilled creativity and the ability to identify and achieve scientific goals of significance to the biomedical research enterprise.