This proposal seeks support for 14 postdoctoral fellows for a two year training curriculum within an established and highly successful program (Interdisciplinary Training in Cancer Model Systems ? ITCMS) that instills interdisciplinary approaches to address basic and translational approaches in cancer research. The 51 ITCMS mentors are chosen from 325 core faculty of the UNC Lineberger Cancer Center (LCCC). Faculty are housed within academic departments in the UNC School of Medicine, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Pharmacy and are members of the five basic/translational LCCC programs: Cancer Cell Biology, Immunology, Molecular Therapeutics, Virology and Cancer Genetics as well as the Clinical Research Program. This pool of mentors allows fellows to engage in interdisciplinary studies from basic science to bioinformatics to translational studies, utilizing state of the art cancer models. The ITCMS program is administered by its Director and Associate Director, with advice from the Training Committee, and both External and Internal Advisory Boards. Preceptor and trainee input on the training program is accomplished through an annual, anonymous survey. Training is enhanced by access to the Center's core facilities, supported by the Center's NCI Core Grant (rated ?exceptional?). LCCC commitment to ITCMS is significant and includes support for an additional two postdoctoral slots. Fellows jointly apply to the ITCMS and one or more mentor laboratories and undergo a rigorous selection process. Upon appointment, each fellow develops a training plan approved by the mentor, the mentoring committee, and the Director. Each fellow participates in the following: (i) monthly in-house postdoctoral seminars given by the fellows, (ii) the annual Lineberger Postdoctoral-Faculty Research Day, organized by a Faculty Advisor and the Postdoctoral Fellows Committee, (iii) panel discussions on careers including advice for successful faculty applications and interviews, (iv) sessions on ethics in research (vi) a monthly research club, (vi) clinical exposure (physician shadowing and tumor board participation), (vii) interactions with patient advocates, and (viii) a grant writing and grant review program. Based on the individualized training plan, fellows participate in relevant training workshops (such as proteomics, microscopy, mouse histopathology, genomics, etc.). Progress is monitored annually by the Director and Associate Director, along with the Training Oversight Committee, before renewal for Year 2 support. Since its inception, the program has been committed to recruiting and successful training of minorities. The success of previous fellows, with the great majority continuing in a cancer or science-related field, underscores the importance placed on postdoctoral training in the ITCMS.
The ITCMS postdoctoral training program at the UNC Lineberger Cancer Center is designed to provide exceptional interdisciplinary training with outstanding preceptors in areas of basic and translational cancer research with an emphasis on cancer model systems. This successful program has completed its 40th year and is under the able directorship of Dr. Joseph Pagano, who originally founded the cancer center and the training program. The success of the program has moved in step with the success of the University of North Carolina and its nationally recognized cancer research efforts. We request support for 14 postdoctoral trainees over the next 5 years.
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