This application seeks continuation of our T32 Cancer Cell Biology Training Program (CCBTP), now in its 19th year. This exclusively predoctoral training program, together with the long-standing exclusively postdoctoral Integrated Training in Cancer Model Systems (ITCMS) T32, comprise the training component of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC) at UNC-Chapel Hill. LCCC is one of only 45 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers. The CCTP premise is that cancer cell biology is a distinct, interdisciplinary biomedical science that encompasses experimental approaches and didactic knowledge from fields as diverse as biochemistry, cell biology, epidemiology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, pathology, pharmacology, physiology and toxicology. The CCBTP mission has been, and continues to be, training the next generation of basic and translational cancer biologists. Since ours is not a degree-granting program, we seek to provide our students with unique opportunities beyond their departmental requirements. In this renewal application, the CCBTP seeks to build on its past success, while also recognizing that the landscape of cancer research and training has entered a new era of very dynamic change. With the approach of precision medicine, and the genomic era of cancer research continuing at warp speed, these are now some of the best of times for cancer research. Conversely, these are also challenging times. We are faced with information overload and must ensure that our trainees can leverage this information to advance their own research studies. Grant funding continues to challenge the research community. Issues of reproducibility dog this and other research fields. The pharmaceutical industry is no longer able to sustain its own research capabilities, changing the dynamics between industry and academia. To keep the CCBTP program fresh and to address the needs of future cancer biology trainees, we have critically evaluated the program and remodeled some aspects to keep abreast of this changing landscape. The core mission remains to ensure that we provide the best training for our cancer biology students. We also now focus on preparing our trainees for both academic and non-academic careers. In the past cycle, we have added novel interactions with faculty mentors, improved our diversity pipeline, and obtained enhanced institutional support. Going forward, in addition to our continued emphasis on translational cancer biology, we will provide our trainees with new opportunities to develop their knowledge of state-of-the-art methodologies to profile and dissect the cancer genome, bioinformatics and computational biology, the emerging areas of immunotherapy and epigenetics, the best model systems to study cancer, and reproducibility in research. The CCBTP serves a vital role in the mission of training to support the pipeline of future cancer biologists, preparing them to serve leading roles in the NCI Cancer Moonshot Initiative, and to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
As cancer overtakes cardiovascular disease as the number-one cause of deaths in the US, the need for well- trained cancer biologists is now more acute than ever. The landscape in cancer research and training continues to evolve rapidly. In this renewal application of our long-standing interdisciplinary Cancer Cell Biology Training Program for predoctoral students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we propose our vision for the future training of cancer biologists for both academic and non-academic career paths, to position them well to contribute to the Moonshot Initiative to ?eliminate cancer as we know it?. !
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