Modern cancer immunology research studies the complex interactions among the tumor, host immune system and microbiome, and depends on an array of technologies that were unimaginable a decade ago. To design, execute, and interpret experiments using these technologies, it is not sufficient for cancer researchers to understand the biology of cancer; they must also understand the assay technology and the analysis methods used to interpret the resulting data. The complexity presents a challenging task and a huge unmet need in the education of cancer researchers, as what needs to be learned cuts across multiple disciplines: cancer biology, immunology, microbiology, statistics and bioinformatics. To address this pressing knowledge gap for cancer researchers, we propose a modular series of annual two-week summer courses that spans and integrates the analysis of microbiome, immunology and cancer high-throughput data. These courses will include coverage of the biology, assays, online resources, bioinformatics pipelines and statistical methods needed to rigorously analyze and correctly interpret the results. Comprehensive educational material with integrated data sets from the course will be made publicly available as scientific notebooks to cancer researchers everywhere.
STATEMENT: Cancer immunotherapy is revolutionizing the treatment of cancer, however, less than half of patients treated with immunotherapy experience a response or long-term remission. Recent discoveries suggest that the outcomes from cancer immunotherapies depend on complex interactions among the tumor, host immune system and microbiome. The complexity of this interaction presents a challenging task and a huge unmet need in the education of cancer researchers, because research in this area requires synthesis across multiple disciplines: cancer biology, immunology, microbiology, statistics and bioinformatics. This proposal fills a gap in the education of the cancer researcher and will help train a work force with the knowledge and skills needed to advance interdisciplinary research in cancer immunotherapy.