Support is requested for continuation of the Training Program in Cancer Biology and Therapeutics (CBT) at the University of California, Irvine. Despite decades of research, cancer is the #1 killer of adults under 85. Thus, there remains a substantial need for new therapies, diagnostics and preventions that will not be met by business as usual approaches. The goal of this program is to meet this need by providing UCI graduate students and postdocs with comprehensive, highly interdisciplinary training that includes cancer biology, the most current research methods, and a focus on translational science such as the development of novel cancer therapeutics and diagnostics. The foundation we provide together with professional development activities offered will produce a cohort of well-trained experts armed to successfully attack the cancer problem from vantage points in both academia and industry. The Program benefits from outstanding institutional support from the UCI Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (a NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center), the UCI Cancer Research Institute, Graduate Division, and other campus offices. The Program provides research opportunities across the cancer continuum from etiology to therapeutics, encompassing faculty from the School of Biological Sciences, basic and clinical departments in the School of Medicine, and the department of Chemistry. There are twenty-eight training faculty, each with a cancer-focused research program and established record of training. We request support for four postdoctoral and four predoctoral trainees; one additional predoctoral position will be supported by our Graduate Division. Over the last two years, we have carried out a rigorous self-evaluation with input from trainees, faculty, and external advisors. This process has led us to implement a revised program that meets the specific needs of current UCI trainees. The Program is led by a new Director and co-Director, both mid-career faculty with outstanding records of research productivity and training. A continuing element of the Program will be a rigorous and well-defined set of courses (Cancer Biology parts A and B, Clinical Cancer for Basic Scientists, Cancer Biology Journal Club), that build knowledge about basic and clinical/translational cancer research. Other strong components that will continue are the biennial CBT program retreat and the annual symposium in basic cancer biology. A fundamental change will be greater flexibility for trainees to choose courses and activities based on their Individual Development Plan (IDP) that they will update annually. Other new elements will be a Research-in- Progress series, a quarterly seminar series featuring eminent cancer researchers from academia and industry, and enhanced opportunities for exposure to clinical cancer care and research. The Program will implement substantial improvements to recruiting approaches for both predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees, including innovative methods to recruit underrepresented minorities. Lastly, CBT trainees will benefit from an exciting new emphasis on professional development, supported in part by a new NIH-BEST award to UC Irvine.
Cancer is the #1 killer of adults under 85, and it is greatly feared by the general populace; thus there is continued and substantial need for training new researchers who will ultimately develop new therapies, diagnostics and preventions. This application seeks continuation of the longstanding and successful Training Program in Cancer Biology and Therapeutics (CBT) at the University of California, Irvine. The program provides opportunities for predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees to learn about diverse aspects of cancer research and treatment, with opportunities for interdisciplinary and translational research.
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