The rapid development and advancement of technologies and knowledge in molecular biology and genetics have led to major breakthroughs in cancer etiology research. While the field of cancer epidemiology is moving rapidly toward a new era in which interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary collaborative research is the central theme, there is a severe shortage of scientists working at the interfaces of epidemiology, molecular biology, and genetics. The Vanderbilt Training Program in Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer (Vanderbilt- MAGEC), launched in 2012 with NCI R25 funding, was designed to fill the gap with a goal of providing postdoctoral fellows from a variety of disciplines with the methodological tools, practical laboratory and survey- research knowledge, and hands-on research and grant writing experience necessary to launch an independent career in the molecular and genetic epidemiology of cancer.
The specific aims of the Vanderbilt MAGEC program are: 1) To recruit exceptional, ethnically-diverse candidates with strong backgrounds in epidemiology, genetics, and/or biology. 2) To deliver individualized didactic training tailored to complement each trainee's prior training background and launch them into their desired career paths (molecular or genetic epidemiology of cancer). This training consists of courses, seminars, studios, journal clubs, conferences and research grant preparation. 3) To establish a multi-disciplinary mentor team for each trainee and integrate trainees into NCI- funded cancer epidemiology research projects. 4) To evaluate the impact of the Vanderbilt MAGEC program by tracking short- and long-term outcomes. Expected short-term outcomes for all trainees include publishing high-quality papers in peer-reviewed journals and submitting a grant proposal to an internal or external funding agency based on the NIH format. Long-term outcomes include cancer research career placements and NIH grant funding. The MAGEC program, built upon an outstanding research and education training environment; a pool of 26 excellent, well-funded researchers and educators; 66 ongoing, cutting-edge research projects; exceptional data/biospecimen and population resources; and a rich history of interdisciplinary training, has met with remarkable success during its first four grant years. A total of 9 fellows received or are currently receiving MAGEC training; of these, two obtained tenure track positions at major universities; one received a K99R00 award; and five submitted a career development application (K22, K99R00, K01 and DP5) or an R03 grant. MAGEC trainees contributed to 30 publications, 14 as first author. The program is mature and is in an excellent position to transition into a T32 training program. The renewal program will support 6 post-doctoral fellows, including 4 current fellows: one at Year 0, two at Year 1, and one each at Year 2, 3 and 4 levels. Expected training duration for the MAGEC program is 3 years. Continued support of the program is essential for sustaining its success and extending its impact on training a new generation of elite molecular and genetic cancer epidemiologists and leaders in the new era of precision medicine and prevention.
The Vanderbilt training program in the Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer is designed to address the urgent need to build an elite class of epidemiologists to lead the new era of multidisciplinary collaborative research in cancer. The program, built upon an outstanding research and education training environment; excellent body of researchers and educators; multiple, ongoing, cutting-edge research projects; exceptional data/biospecimen and population resources; and the rich history of interdisciplinary training at Vanderbilt, delivers individualized didactic and research training to equip postdoctoral fellows from a variety of disciplines with the methodological tools, practical laboratory and survey-research knowledge, and hands-on research and grant writing experience necessary to launch independent careers in the molecular and genetic epidemiology of cancer.
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