The Center for Cancer Research (CCR) Office of Training and Education (OTE) mission is to have a programmatic impact on the overall training experience of the basic scientists, clinical fellows, and other trainees at CCR/NCI. The OTE addresses many of needs in the trainee population, but continues to expand on these activities. Outlined below are some of the more important functions and activities within OTE. Special Fellow Activities The OTE serves as a liaison to the postdoctoral community and the CCR Office of the Director. A postdoctoral association and a steering committee were developed many years ago. The committee plans and holds the annual CCR Fellows and Young Investigators Colloquium. Nationally and internationally recognized speakers are invited for plenary sessions. The retreat is designed as vehicle to encourage the fellows to network with their peers and to develop independent collaborations. It also serves as a forum for presenting their research in a formal setting as posters or oral presentations. OTE also developed the Fellows Editorial Board to serve the needs of the community. The board meets weekly and has reviewed over 500 manuscripts. The board provides an opportunity for the fellows to improve their own writing skills, learn in depth editorial skills, and consider scientific editing as a career option. The board has been in operation several years and former members have transitioned to positions in this field. The board has been so successful that it has opened its membership and manuscript process to fellows from all other NIH institutes. Course development We have developed numerous courses to address deficiencies and these include: cancer and redox biology, statistics, and management. Most of these courses are offered annually and are team taught by NCI investigators or outside contractors. Formats range from once per week for a semester to multiple half or full day classes. All the courses and lecturers are evaluated and changes are made as needed. One of the more successful courses is Translational Research in Clinical Oncology (TRACO). In TRACO we have two one-hour lectures each week with a clinical and a basic scientist presenting on a single tumor type or critical pathway. The lectures provide an understanding of how bench research is moved to the clinic and implemented. TRACO is 15 weeks long and over 150 postdoctoral fellows and principal investigators register each year. It is also web cast and the lectures are archived for viewing at the convenience of the students. We also offer a workshop in grant writing. The K grant mechanisms allow our intramural postdoctoral fellows to apply during their tenure at the NCI and facilitate their transition to independent faculty positions. During this workshop we have NCI Extramural Program Directors introduce the review process and contract a scientific writer to hold a workshop on selling their science. The weekly meeting critically reviews each application and the importance of the hypothesis and specific aims are stressed. All the fellows reviewing each others application re-enforces the learning process and they think more critically about their own applications. University Partnerships The NIH developed the Graduate Partnership Program (GPP) several years ago as a mechanism to bring graduate students to campus in formalized NIH/University partnerships. We leveraged this program to build the Comparative Molecular Pathology program. This program trains recent graduates in veterinary medicine in a Ph.D. from one of the four partner universities and includes the University of Illinois, Michigan State University, North Carolina State University, and the University of Maryland. Since the inception of the program, four other NIH institutes (NIAID, NIDDK, NINDS, and NHLBI) have signed interagency agreements to support and partner with our program. A second partnership is the Molecular Targets and Drug Discovery Technologies Masters degree with Johns Hopkins University. This program focuses on several faucets of high throughput screening and laboratory automation. A feature of the program is a fellowship component recruiting post-baccalaureates to CCR laboratories working on projects related to the CCR Molecular Targets Initiative. NCI/FDA Interagency Oncology Task Force Training Fellowship The National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developed fellowship training for scientists and clinicians in research and research-related regulatory review. The objective of the NCI-FDA fellowships is to train a cadre of scientists in research and research-related regulatory review, policies, and regulations so they develop a skill set bridging the two disparate processes. Fellows learn to build awareness of regulatory requirements into the early stages of the medical product development process and develop strategies to improve planning throughout research and regulatory review. Graduates of this program develop skills of value to academia, the pharmaceutical industry, and government agencies. If heightened awareness of the requirements of regulatory review of safety and efficacy can be incorporated into the schema of development and testing from the early stages, NCI and FDA will be better equipped to achieve a common goal: bringing safe and effective drugs, regimens, and devices from the bench to the bedside as quickly as possible. Cancer Research Interns (CRI) The OTE has developed a program to bring under represented minorities or individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to CCR laboratories for a first research experience. The Cancer Research Interns program (CRI) is supported by the CCR Office of the Director and allows us to place and provide stipend support for the students without previous research experience. This program allows us to build a pipeline for underrepresented minorities with an interest in research. Over the course of this program, many of the students continued in CCR labs for additional training or were able to use their experience to gain an offer to return to other NIH laboratories. Therefore this program is beginning to build an increased diversity within our trainee population and will provide opportunities for students who would never have received these chances in the past. Career Guidance and Mentoring Our office serves as a resource to the trainees for career guidance and as second mentors. We frequently meet with CCR fellows to discuss career paths and provide information on various opportunities. These may include internships or other mechanisms for training that would help to build their CVs in these other arenas. We are also a resource to CCR investigators when there are conflicts within their labs or between themselves and their trainees. In some cases we facilitate transferring a fellow from one lab to another in an effort to improve the situation.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Education and Outreach Intramural Research (ZIJ)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
National Cancer Institute Division of Basic Sciences
Zip Code
Mason, Julie L; Johnston, Elizabeth; Berndt, Sam et al. (2016) Labor and skills gap analysis of the biomedical research workforce. FASEB J 30:2673-83
Nelson, David E; Faupel-Badger, Jessica; Phillips, Siobhan et al. (2014) Future directions for postdoctoral training in cancer prevention: insights from a panel of experts. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 23:679-83