The present proposal represents a continuation of the Cancer Biology Training Program that was instituted at Duke University in 1993 with the assistance of funding from this training grant. In the past four years, the primary mission of the program has been the training both predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows for a career in cancer research. All 47 participating faculty from six basic science departments and five clinical departments of Duke University Medical Center contribute time through mentorship, membership on the advisory thesis committees, lecturing in courses, and participation in seminars and works-in-progress meetings. Built on top of the strengths of research in mechanism-based basic cancer biology of the original members of the Cancer Biology Program, there has been a significant increase in participating faculty of the Program with the addition new members who have their main research interests in translational research and first-hand knowledge about cancer therapy and patient care which has dramatically expanded the spectrum of training opportunities for the trainees who want to have a broad exposure to modern cancer biology. Each Program member also participates in other interdisciplinary training programs, and the majority of the faculty are also very involved in postdoctoral training. Both students and postdoctoral fellows are also provided with career guidance and development. The latter includes opportunities for the trainees to meet eminent scientists that come to Duke through a seminar series to present their own work both in classroom situations and at regional and national meetings, and to receive personal career guidance from both visiting scientists and those associated with the Program. There are currently 50 students, from year one to six, working toward the Ph.D. degree in the Program, with two of them receiving direct financial support annually from the training grant. There are six postdoctoral trainees per year who receive financial support from the training grant, with two in each of 0,1, and 2 years of post-graduate experience. For the next funding cycle, 10 student-years and 30 postdoctoral-years of support are projected to come from this training grant. Through the Cancer Biology Training Program, both predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees will receive training that prepares them for competitive research in the field of cancer biology at the highest level. These trainees, in turn, are contributing greatly to the scientific life of this University.
Even with the tremendous progress that has been made in combating cancer as a disease through a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms, cancer remains a major challenge of human health. Training of the next generation of cancer biologists will have a significant impact in the long term fight against this disease.
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