Our goal with the ten-week Summer Research Experience in Cancer (SuRE-C) Program is to exploit the rich cancer research community at the University of Virginia to expose undergraduate and medical students to the excitement, capabilities, rigors, and breadth of opportunities for careers in cancer research. Fifteen (15) undergraduate and/or post-baccalaureate students and five (5) incoming first- or rising second-year medical students will be enrolled in SuRE-C each year. The program has four educational components. The first and most important is a hands-on cancer research project that will be performed under the mentorship of one of our 47 program faculty. Second, we will take advantage of our close association with the NCI-designated UVA Cancer Center to provide the trainees with opportunities to learn about the challenges in cancer care and interact with cancer patients. Third, trainees will participate in a weekly 1-hour workshop focused on developing and refining scientific communication skills appropriate for various contexts and audiences. Finally, the trainees will attend a once-a-week professional development luncheon series that will provide instruction in approaches to cancer research and panel discussions of career options led by current and former students, fellows, faculty, physician scientists, and clinical trialists. These presentations will be intertwined with practical experiences focused on positioning both the undergraduate and medical student trainees for success at the next stages of their career. The program will undergo a robust evaluation process to assess whether it is meeting its goals. Through strong mentorship, hands-on cancer research, innovative educational initiatives, and exposure to a wide range of cancer-related research and clinical care experiences, trainees in the SuRE-C Program will be uniquely prepared to pursue advanced training in a variety of specialties with the ultimate goal of becoming members of a diverse biomedical workforce in cancer-research. !
The landscape of biomedical research in the United States is changing, as are the composition and activities of the biomedical research workforce. With this evolution comes an increasing need to encourage talented young people to explore this changing landscape and pursue careers that will contribute to a better understanding of the factors that promote the diseases under investigation, the development of methodologies to predict and/or prevent disease progression, and the discovery of therapies that will help cure patients. The Summer Research Experience in Cancer (SuRE-C) Program at the University of Virginia will address this need by providing undergraduate and medical student trainees with an immersive research experience within a rich cancer research community that boasts strong and diverse basic science, an NCI-designated Cancer Center, and opportunities for exposure to the practice and challenges of providing clinical care to cancer patients.