This proposal is for a competitive renewal of a post-doctoral training program in Molecular & Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer (MGEC). The current era of cancer research employs extraordinary tools for understanding the genetic and environmental causes of carcinogenesis. Using these tools to their fullest extent requires input from teams of scientists with a variety of backgrounds, including molecular biology, oncology, medicine, genetics, epidemiology, and biostatistics. Individuals with multi-disciplinary education across these fields are crucial to the success of such teams, as they can coordinate the integrated work necessary to accomplish some of the most promising research. However, the focused nature of most training opportunities provides limited opportunities for investigators to obtain knowledge that bridges these disciplines. To address this issue, we propose renewing the current MGEC training program from the current R25T mechanism to a T32 mechanism. This program offers to exceptional postdoctoral candidates a set of instructional and research opportunities that prepare them for careers as independent researchers in the interdisciplinary ?field? of molecular and genetic epidemiology. Mentors and research training opportunities will come from the University of California, San Francisco and the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research. This program is well-suited to the T32 grant mechanism because it trains scientists at the intersection of multiple distinct fields. More specifically, the MGEC program blends together in a highly interactive fashion a group of mentors and trainees with cancer research expertise in molecular biology, genetics, epidemiology, and biostatistics. The program is defined by three main components: (1) a specialized core curriculum covering key disciplines and their intersections; (2) additional educational experiences to complement the research and educational backgrounds and interest of trainees; and (3) focused research projects supervised by committed mentors. Each trainee will also be required to write an NIH proposal as part of their career preparation. Previous trainees have shown great success in developing independent research careers. Individuals trained in the MGEC program will have the skills vital to furthering their careers in research to decipher the causes of cancer, ultimately providing valuable knowledge regarding the prevention and treatment of this complex disease.
To further enhance the ongoing fight against cancer requires scientists who can communicate across traditionally distinct research disciplines, such as those that comprise the interdisciplinary ?field? of molecular and genetic epidemiology. The proposed T32 program will fulfill this need by providing exceptional training to prepare postdocs for careers as independent researchers able to decipher the underlying basis and how best to prevent and treat cancer.