Carcinogenesis Training Program

Project: Research project

Project Details


This proposal requests support for 9 pre-doctoral students in the Carcinogenesis Training Program at Northwestern University, currently entering year 30. Its goal is to provide comprehensive, rigorous research training in cancer biology and a focus for interdisciplinary interactions among students and faculty in the Cancer Biology Cluster, one of nine intercampus “Research Clusters” in Northwestern University’s Life and Biomedical Sciences (NULABS) Programs. Dr. Kathleen Green serves as PI of this T32 and co-director of the Cancer Biology Cluster, which will serve as the primary source of students for 27 preceptors. The highly interactive preceptor group represents 15 departments/divisions (12 in Chicago and 3 in Evanston). The group is supported by $32.1M in direct costs and brings training expertise in four cross-cutting areas that have been re-defined to reflect recent conceptual and technical developments in cancer biology, in particular Cancer Epigenetics through recruitment of faculty into a new Biochemistry Department. Focus areas are: 1) Cancer Epigenetics and Nuclear Dynamics, 2) Membranes, Organelles and Metabolism, 3) Tumor Environment and Metastasis and 4) Cancer and Physical Sciences. Students are typically appointed for a period of two years, after completing two years of coursework including required introductory and advanced cancer biology courses. Students are appointed on a competitive basis through rigorous evaluation and interview. 3-4 years of thesis research are accompanied by T32-specific meetings comprising research-in-progress reports, career development presentations, training in the responsible conduct of research, student-organized event planning and additional enrichment activities. 111 students have completed the program since its inception, with 22 continuing in training. Over its 29-year duration, 81% of T32 graduates went into academic/industry research, largely in the area of cancer biology. During the past 10 years, students who completed the program have published on average four papers, and in the current training period 5 students are from underrepresented minority groups. Going forward our goals are to: enhance didactic training with the introduction of innovative Nanocourses that provide flexibility in introducing cutting edge concepts, interdisciplinary and translational research; promote diversity recruitment and retention through the position of Diversity Director; enhance outcomes by increasing the competitive criteria for selection and augmenting mentoring; improve program evaluation through annual External Advisory Committee meetings and student Focus Groups; and ensure active communication and participation among students and preceptors from both campuses. The Carcinogenesis T32 has broad institutional support reflected by a commitment from The Graduate School and Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of an additional two positions per year. Continued support of the Carcinogenesis T32 will be critical as Northwestern enters its next growth phase in conjunction with the opening of a new research tower in 2018.
Effective start/end date7/1/176/30/22


  • National Cancer Institute (5T32CA009560-34)


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