The aim of the proposal is to develop a dedicated Training Program in Epigenetics and Cancer with a translational component at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center (SCCC), University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The objective of the training program is to offer postdoctoral fellows a sophisticated, scientific environment with multidisciplinary expertise encompassing epigenetics and cancer. The proposed program will provide trainees with the ideal platform for successful careers as scientists, physicians, scientific administrators, and entrepreneurs that will identify novel agents and devises to treat cancer. We have assembled a team of 18 SCCC members who will serve as mentors of this program, including 9 full Professors, 7 Associate Professors, and 2 Assistant Professors. All mentors are currently supported by R01 and/or R01 equivalent funding (e.g. Leukemia Lymphoma Society) for at least the next two years at the time of submission. The total funding of these mentors exceeds seven million dollars per year. Most of these mentors have trained outstanding postdoctoral fellows in the past ten years. In addition, these mentors are currently training 12 postdoctoral fellows that are eligible for these training grants. The research expertise of these mentors includes hematologic malignancies, carcinogenesis, epigenetics, cancer genomics, cancer biology, signal transduction, drug discovery, cancer control, and bioinformatics. The models used in their labs include primary cells and cell lines from tumors and animal models relevant to human cancers, such as hematopoietic malignancies, breast cancer, uveal melanoma, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and brain cancer. A training program has been advanced for the postdoctoral fellows within the Cancer Epigenetics Program at SCCC, aiming to engage them in multidisciplinary interactions where they can get exposure to clinical cancer research and learn about unmet research needs that they can then bring to the bench. This training program includes biweekly cancer epigenetic colloquia for trainees, a weekly journal club, seminars from outside speakers, monthly epigenomics working group meetings, and internal workshops for grant writing and bioinformatics. These approaches will allow the trainees to keep up with the most up-to-date research activities and to apply advanced techniques/methods into their studies, thereby increasing their competitiveness. In addition, individual development plans will be implemented for each trainee to maximize their unique strengths and overcome their specific weaknesses. Our training program will maximize diversity and make every effort to recruit trainees from populations traditionally underrepresented in science and medicine. With our enthusiastic and dedicated mentors, carefully selected trainees, a multidisciplinary environment, and a strong commitment from our Institution, the proposed program will provide unique opportunities for our trainees to flourish in multi-dimensional thinking, problem solving and laboratory skills, as well as establish a workforce that will successfully produce the next generation researchers in Epigenetics and Cancer.

Public Health Relevance

The application is a new proposal for an NCI-supported postdoc training program in Epigenetics and Cancer. The program will provide the postdoctoral fellows with multi-dimensional thinking, state-of-the-art multidisciplinary environment, and in-depth problem solving and laboratory skills in cancer research. Our goal is to establish a workforce, who are poised to take new challenges in fighting against cancer through epigenetic studies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Subcommittee I - Transistion to Independence (NCI)
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Schmidt, Michael K
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University of Miami School of Medicine
Schools of Medicine
Coral Gables
United States
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