California State University, Fresno (Fresno State) has established a partnership with the NCl-designated Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (SBMRI) Cancer Center and is applying for a P20 feasibility grant. The goals of the partnership are: a) enhance cancer research potential at Fresno State (a minority serving institution), b) train cohorts of undergraduate and graduate students for future cancer research careers, and c) track students to evaluate program progress. The partnership will combine strengths of both institutions in offering cancer biology education, research, and training in the Fresno State curricula. It will facilitate an intensive exposure of Fresno State students to world-class SBMRI faculty, graduate and postdoctoral resources by mentoring students towards PhD degree programs. Moreover, it will help develop core facility expertise in cancer research techniques/instrumentation at Fresno State and enhance SBMRI accessibility to underrepresented minority student populations.
The specific aims of the partnership are: (1) Study cancer incidence in the ethnically-prominent Central California. Two pilot projects will address NIH identified critical health issues-pancreatic cancer and breast cancer in the Hispanic population. Each project focuses on molecular analyses of cancers via screening by mass spectrometry/proteomics or NMR/ metabolomics. These will augment Fresno State resources and optimize data collection for faculty to successfully undertake cancer-related projects. (2) Train minority students during summer at SBMRI, UCSD, and at Fresno State within the cancer research projects during the school year. Central California has many unique features that impact the rates of cancer which justify the proposed partnership. The Valley has over 3 million people and several counties have a Hispanic populace in excess of 50%. Implications for specific cancers more common to Hispanics and the relative paucity of minority cancer researchers serve as the motivation for this long-term partnership between Fresno State and SBMRI Cancer Center. Both Internal and External Advisory Committees will provide strategic guidance by evaluating progress to achieve partnership goals in research, student training, and implementing plans for competitive funding of R01 and U54 grants.
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