Carcinogenesis Training Program

Project: Research project

Project Details


This proposal requests support for 8 Ph.D. students in the Carcinogenesis Training Program at Northwestern University (NU), currently entering year 35. We aim to equip a diverse, exceptionally qualified cohort of pre-doctoral trainees with the necessary conceptual foundation, laboratory experience and operational skills to successfully navigate their future careers. The program provides a platform for interactions among students and faculty in the Cancer Biology Cluster, one of nine intercampus “Research Clusters” in NU’s Life and Biomedical Sciences (NULABS) Programs. Through mentorship by a diverse, well-qualified and engaged preceptor team, trainee objectives are to a) elucidate the underlying mechanisms driving tumor growth and progression through rigorous, interdisciplinary investigation supported by a cancer curriculum, b) gain an understanding of how these basic science discoveries are translated into clinical practice, and c) acquire collaborative and leadership skills necessary to develop successful careers in academia, industry, and other cancer research-related career paths. Dr. Kathleen Green serves as the T32 PI and co-director of the Cancer Biology Cluster, the primary source of students for 38 preceptors representing 16 departments/divisions. Preceptors are supported by $32.8M in funding and bring training expertise in four cross-cutting focus areas: 1) Cancer Epigenetics and Nuclear Dynamics, 2) Membranes, Organelles and Metabolism, 3) Tumor Environment and Metastasis and 4) Physical Sciences and Therapeutics. After completing two years of tailored coursework students are appointed to the training grant through a rigorous, competitive evaluation and interview. T32-specific Research-in-Progress meetings, career development presentations, and continuous training in the responsible conduct of research and rigor and reproducibility accompany 3-4 years of thesis research. Over its 34-year duration the program has a 94% retention rate among its 158 trainees (inclusive of 15 still in training). Of 135 T32 Ph.D. graduates 81% went into academic/industry research, largely in cancer biology. During the past 10 years, students published on average five papers with a current impact factor (2020-2021) of 14.87. A total of 44% of current trainees are from underrepresented groups. In the next funding cycle, we will expand the scope of student-organized innovative Nanocourses that allow flexibility in introducing cutting edge concepts; introduce round tables to promote interdisciplinary communication and collaboration skills; promote training in diversity and inclusion with guidance from our Diversity and Inclusion Committee; enhance trainee outcomes by augmenting and providing training for mentors; improve program evaluation through systematic use of RedCAP surveys, Internal and External Advisory Committees and student Focus Groups. The Carcinogenesis T32 has broad institutional support reflected by commitments from The Graduate School and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of an additional two positions per year. Continued NIH support of the Carcinogenesis T32 will be critical as NU enters its next growth phase of recruitment into a new medical research tower that opened in 2019.
Effective start/end date7/15/226/30/27


  • National Cancer Institute (5T32CA009560-37)


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