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Prestigious grant a 'coming of age' for CU Training Program in Cancer Biology

July 27, 2016

The Training Program in Cancer Biology (TPCB) partnering with the University of Colorado Cancer Center recently earned a prestigious National Cancer Institute T32 grant, funding PhD-level and post-doctoral training positions in cancer research. In addition to expanding the program's capacity and adding postdoctoral positions, this highly competitive grant recognizes the excellence of the program, which has grown to become a national leader in the interdisciplinary education of the next generation of cancer scientists.

"The best training programs are funded by these NCI T32 grants. Our award is a recognition of the outstanding research opportunities available for training in cancer biology at our institution," says Mary Reyland, PhD, TPCB program director, CU Cancer Center investigator and professor at the CU School of Dental Medicine. Reyland is co-principal investigator on the grant along with Scott Cramer, PhD, CU Cancer Center investigator and professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the CU School of Medicine. In addition to Drs. Reyland and Cramer, the TPCB training faculty includes 28 CU Cancer Center investigators with research interests in basic and translational cancer biology.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the goal of the T32 grant program is to "help ensure that a diverse and highly trained workforce is available to meet the needs of the Nation's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research agenda," and to "prepare individuals for careers that will have a significant impact on the health-related research needs of the Nation." Programs accomplish these goals through a combination of mentoring and instruction, placing trainees in the laboratories of established cancer scientists.

"Our goal is to provide interdisciplinary training at the cutting edge of cancer research to best prepare our trainees to compete in a biomedical research environment increasingly focused on translational applications of basic research," Reyland says.

Despite major breakthroughs in our basic understanding of the cellular and molecular changes that lead to cancer, many key steps in carcinogenesis, and changes in early cancers that promote invasion and metastasis, still remain poorly defined. The TPCB, housed on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado, hopes to train the young researchers who will push forward the understanding of cancer biology and the new and evolving techniques used to study it.

"We hope to enhance recruitment and training of the best and brightest junior scientists who are passionate about careers as independent scientists or physician scientists," Reyland says.

Previously, the program was limited to PhD students. The new grant expands the program's scope, adding postdoctoral positions. "It enables us to support and develop trainees at a more advanced stage that will more quickly become leaders in cancer research," Reyland says.

Reyland, Cramer and program faculty are currently evaluating applications from PhD-level and post-doctoral researchers.

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

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