Cancer has been a major focus of biomedical research since the war on cancer began with the National Cancer Act of 1971. Despite this focus, nearly 8 million people die of cancer each year, worldwide. To help ensure that the nations? biomedical, clinical, and behavioral cancer research workforce remains strong, we propose the development of a Cancer-focused Summer Undergraduate Research (CanSUR) Program, to recruit highly motivated undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds and foster their excitement for a career in cancer research. The CanSUR program will support 32 undergraduate scholars each year, recruited from regional and national colleges/universities for a 10-week period, to participate in a cancer research experience with members of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC). Key objectives of the CanSUR Program are to: (1) provide each scholar with a summer cancer research experience in a Case CCC members lab; (2) foster an understanding of biomedical, cancer research career opportunities and (3) providing scientific enrichment and professional skills curriculum to help prepare them for the next step in a cancer research focused career. Four major components have been developed to meet these objectives, including an Intensive Week 1 Cancer Immersion Workshop, a series of interactive cancer research lectures on the fundamentals of cancer biology, current cancer therapies, cancer research techniques, cancer career paths and innovative 3-dimensional cancer education modules (called the HoloLens). We propose a novel 2- tier mentorship structure that includes both the primary mentor (lab leader), and a junior mentor, which will be the person in charge of the day-to-day training of the CanSUR scholar within the research environment. Beyond their individual research experience, we have developed a series of Scientific Enrichment components which address important issues in cancer research, such as developing professional habits, effective communication strategies, and an appreciation of how cancer impacts individuals and their families (using talks by patient advocates). Numerous cancer-focused career paths will be introduced, and guidance about how to prepare for the next step of a specific career path will be provided by graduate and medical school admissions directors, professionals who have achieved their cancer-related career goals, and current trainees. Given the importance of our objectives, we have been pledged significant institutional support and have 82 faculty and institutional leaders who focus on cancer education prepared to recruit and train outstanding undergraduates in this summer program. As such, we are well-positioned to convert highly-motivated undergraduates into the nation?s next cancer research workforce.
To help ensure that the nations? biomedical, clinical, and behavioral cancer research workforce remains strong, we propose the development of a Cancer-focused Summer Undergraduate Research (CanSUR) Program. The objectives of the program are to recruit 32 highly motivated undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds each year and (1) provide them with a cancer research experience including project development, execution, interpretation, and reporting of research results; (2) educate them about available cancer research career opportunities; and (3) provide scientific enrichment and professional skills development curricula to help prepare them for the next step in a cancer research-focused career.