The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) seeks a renewal of NCI support for an innovative, unique, and intensive one-week educational experience (Integrative Molecular Epidemiology Workshop). The workshop?s premise is that the translation of big data from rapidly evolving ?omics? technologies to improve cancer prevention and patient outcomes cannot solely be achieved through randomized controlled clinical trials. As such, the focus of the workshop is the application of these technologies within an epidemiologic framework. Of particular importance is the need to educate cancer researchers to be facile in integrating diverse high- dimensional molecular data, be aware of the risks and pitfalls when doing so, and have the skills and competence for proper interpretation and application of the results. Thus, all workshop lectures and laboratories are cognizant of issues such as feasibility, scalability, quality control, study design, and practical limitations. The workshop is primarily targeted toward molecular epidemiologists, but the materials are designed to also be appropriate for geneticists, statisticians, bioinformaticians, molecular biologists, physician-scientists, and others who have completed basic coursework in epidemiology. The highly qualified faculty assembled to teach this workshop have expertise that spans these disciplines ensuring that all materials are of the highest quality. Based on our experience, we expect the application process to be highly competitive, with twice the number of applications for the slots available. It is expected that the majority of the 50 attendees will be postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty, but advanced graduate students and mid-level/senior faculty will be eligible to participate. The lectures, which use interactive teaching and cooperative group learning approaches, are supplemented with laboratories that focus on practical application of the methods and hands-on use of tools and resources available online. The workshop is interspersed with applied research seminars from leaders in the field who showcase cutting-edge science using the methods introduced in the course. Working lunch mentoring sessions cover career development topics. To provide real-life experience in team science, we organize the participants into interdisciplinary groups of five, and instruct them on cooperative group learning. Finally, we evaluate learning with measurable outcomes for each presentation, each day, the overall workshop immediately after completion, and over time. AACR has experienced staff and an excellent track record for administering educational workshops.
There is a need for rapid and efficient translation of the emerging wealth of genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, and other ?omics information to improve cancer prevention, early detection, and patient outcomes. The Integrative Molecular Epidemiology Workshop is designed accelerate the training of the next generation of cancer researchers and enable them to utilize this wealth of data. The focus of the workshop is the application of these technologies within an epidemiologic framework and through the integration of this data to better understand the factors that cause cancer and improve patient outcomes.
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