Our interdisciplinary program will focus on training pre-doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows in cancer biology so they can effectively decipher important research questions associated with human cancer. We will accomplish this objective by integration of the already established and successful programs in Signal Transduction and Mechanisms of Cancer Cell Survival, Cancer Progression and Metastasis, Tumor Microenvironment, Metabolomics, and Oxidative Stress and DNA Damage with clinical exposure into one cohesive program. Trainees will receive both didactic and non-didactic instruction, laboratory-based basic science research training in cancer research and cutting-edge clinical applications, and career development as independent cancer biologists. To further their growth as important members of the scientific community, students and fellows will receive ample training to articulate their ideas and communicate them effectively, evaluate biomedical research, and mentor others in scientific excellence. This program assembles a cohesive group of basic science and clinical faculty from 8 departments at the College of Medicine. In the past 10 years, our program faculty trained 89 doctoral students and 95 post-doctoral students; our faculty have the experience and interdisciplinary focus to guide this group of trainees to function in research teams pursuing multidisciplinary investigations. We mentor trainees to be proficient at utilizing hypothesis-drive approaches as well as discovery-oriented research design to address key problems. All trainees are required to complete foundation courses in graduate-level Genetics, Biochemistry, Immunology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Biostatistics, Ethics, and Cancer Signaling and Cancer Biology and Therapy, which emphasize cancer in the context of human disease. Training also involves participation in the weekly Markey Cancer Center Seminars, a monthly Metastasis Journal Club, and a monthly Cancer Biology Journal Club. A unique feature of this program is the interdisciplinary training emphasizing bench to bedside (and vice versa) research topics to provide a bridge between the fundamental biology of cancer and clinical cancer. The ultimate objective is to develop a cadre of future scientists who can become leaders in integrative team approaches and understand the complex issue of cancer as it relates to potential prevention and treatment strategies. To help ensure our commitment to the clinical translation of basic science discoveries, Markey Cancer Center Associate Director Vivek Rangnekar, Ph.D., and Director B. Mark Evers, M.D., will continue to be PIs for this team-based training program. The University of Kentucky places a significant emphasis on training minority students, post-doctoral researchers and physicians, and this program will continue to ensure the inclusion of individuals with under-represented racial and ethnic background to better serve our diverse society. Accordingly, this training program will train the next generation of cancer researchers to better understand and treat cancers using an interdisciplinary team approach.
This multidisciplinary training program represents a team-approach involving multiple PIs to mentor pre- doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows in fundamental aspects of cancer biology, translational science of cancer and therapeutics, and prepare them as independent investigators who can become fully integrated in multidisciplinary cancer care teams.
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