The UCLA Scholars in Oncologic Molecular Imaging (SOMI) is an integrated, cross-disciplinary postdoctoral training program bringing together faculty mentors from 7 departments and 6 divisions in the David Geffen School of Medicine, the College of Letters and Sciences, and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. Molecular imaging, the non-invasive monitoring of specific molecules and biochemical process in living organisms, continues to expand its applications in the detection and management of cancer. SOMI faculty mentors provide a diverse training environment spanning mathematics, physics, engineering, chemistry, biochemistry, cancer biology, immunology, and medical sciences. The centerpiece of the SOMI program is the opportunity for trainees (Ph.D. or M.D.) to conduct innovative molecular imaging research co-mentored by faculty in complementary disciplines. SOMI trainees also engage in specialized coursework, seminars, a clinical tutorial program, and participate in a course on ethics and responsible research. The three-year program culminates in preparation of a mock grant, as trainees transition to independent careers in cancer molecular imaging. During the initial funding period, 19 trainees entered the SOMI program, and nine SOMI fellows have subsequently been appointed to faculty positions. In the renewal period, we propose to continue and strengthen the SOMI program through addition of a new Program Area (Systems Biology), strategic additions to our faculty mentors, and continuous improvement of the other training and career development components of the program. The goal of the SOMI program is to continue to provide talented young investigators with the scientific and professional training needed to become leaders in the field of molecular imaging of cancer.

Public Health Relevance

The UCLA Scholars in Oncologic Molecular Imaging (SOMI) program is an integrated, cross-disciplinary postdoctoral training program that prepares young investigators for research careers in the field of molecular imaging of cancer. Molecular imaging is a science that allows visualization of specific molecules and biochemical process in intact living organisms, and provides powerful tools for the study of disease. SOMI trainees develop innovative molecular imaging approaches for the detection, diagnosis and staging of cancer, as well as treatment selection and evaluation of responses.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Education Projects (R25)
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Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
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Perkins, Susan N
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University of California Los Angeles
Other Basic Sciences
Schools of Medicine
Los Angeles
United States
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