This proposal seeks National Cancer Institute (NCI) support for an exciting new Integrative Training in Oncogenic Signaling (ITOS) Program that has been developed by a select group of cancer scientists affiliated with the Hollings Cancer Center (HCC) at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The ITOS Program takes place in this active and growing medical center environment with state-of-the-art facilities, a vibrant NCI-designated cancer center, and an active Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Led by a Program Director with an exceptionally strong cancer research background and leadership experience, the ITOS Program will select and support the placement of trainees in experienced, well-funded, productive laboratories led by the Program Faculty who reside in an interactive, multi-departmental research environment with extensive resources. Each trainee will have a primary mentor and one or two secondary mentors with complementary expertise to ensure distinct and valuable perspectives that will enhance the overall cancer-related research training experience. The objectives of this training program are to provide proactive mentoring and oversight and research training in cutting-edge methodology; to develop useful academic and essential career development skills; to foster collaborative, interdisciplinary interactions with faculty and other trainees; and to provide exposure to current cancer research discoveries and how these are being translated into novel approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Slated to train five postdoctoral trainees each year for five years, this robust training opportunity has seven programmatic components essential in obtaining the aforementioned objectives. These include the following components: 1) 33 Program Faculty who share common interests in cancer research and will provide the essential mentoring for trainees; 2) one to two year experiences in Program Faculty laboratories found within the vibrant HCC research environment; 3) an ITOS Program Research Club providing an engaging community forum for the trainees and Program Faculty to discuss work in progress as well as the latest discoveries in cancer science; 4) shared research resource workshops and tailored training with experts in cutting-edge biotechnologies; 5) interdisciplinary engagement with trainees in HCC-sponsored thematic research retreats, symposia, work in progress meetings, and seminars; 6) career development workshops and courses that will equip trainees for independent success; and 7) opportunities to network nationally at a minimum of two professional conferences each year. In summary, the ITOS Program will offer distinct experiences and opportunities only afforded to the selected ITOS Fellows, and the program, led by an outstanding cadre of Program Faculty, is anticipated to be highly attractive to emerging junior investigators locally and nationally.
Despite the tremendous progress that has been achieved in understanding the complex biology of cancer over the past several decades, it remains a major health care challenge and requires a highly trained workforce to continue to develop new, more effective therapeutic approaches. The Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina seeks funding for its Integrative Training in Oncogenic Signaling (ITOS) Program. This Program is being led by a specialized group of core scientists who will provide a structured, integrated training experience to ensure the next generation is equipped with contemporary, interdisciplinary approaches and technical expertise that will eventually overcome the challenges to this disease.
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