There is an outstanding need for a national cadre of quantitatively sophisticated oncologists, with deep training in both biological aspects of cancer and computational tools to further understanding and treatment. In the proposed training program, OHSU will leverage the strengths of both its cancer program, ranging from basic science to translation, and its computational capacity, spanning from genomics to mechanistic modeling. OHSU was recently ranked as the top young university in life sciences research in the world in the Nature Index. A key strength of the training program will be required co-mentorship by both quantitative and wet-lab basic or clinical faculty. Post-doctoral trainees arriving with expertise in either biology or computation will receive extensive training in the complementary field, both didactic and research-based. Graduate trainees will engage both fields from day one in a specially designed curriculum building on existing courses and established faculty expertise, centered in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology. The training faculty have outstanding track records in mentorship and research productivity, complemented by a healthy cohort of junior faculty to maintain program viability over the long term. Nearly 40 faculty will initially be available to trainees, with an average of >$800,000/year in research funding.
The activities proposed in this application will provide enhanced training in inter-disciplinary, experimental and quantitative research, and career development mentoring for predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows pursuing careers in oncological sciences, with specific emphasis on quantitative and experimental cancer systems biology. The program includes specialized didactic coursework, multi-disciplinary research experiences, and technical and professional development opportunities designed to prepare trainees for success in the increasingly complex landscape of cancer systems biology.