Project Summary Despite major advances in diagnosis and treatment, there remains a need for sustained research and therapeutic innovation to reduce cancer burden. Besides experimental biology, the landscape of oncology research now encompasses computational patient dataset mining for new biomarkers and therapeutic targets, genome and epigenome analysis-based personalized medicine, and application of how sociodemographic and socioeconomic disparities affect cancer incidence and outcomes. The next generation of researchers must receive early exposure to this comprehensive, integrated view of modern oncology, so they can make informed and innovative decisions regarding specialization or cross-specialization options throughout their future education. The proposed CREATE program for future cancer researchers aims to accomplish this goal by integrating a 10-week mentored undergraduate cancer research program with foundational modules on computational drug discovery and development and cancer health disparities-based research. This program will build and expand on the UMMSOM/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center (SCCC)-sponsored pre-existing summer program infrastructure to facilitate research projects tailored to individual scholar interest alongside comprehensive academic and career development support. Complementarily, through a hands-on mini-project, CREATE scholars will receive hands-on instruction in bioinformatics and computational approaches required to develop a robust therapeutic pipeline. SCCC serves a diverse catchment area that will be leveraged to provide CREATE scholars with unique opportunities for understanding the impact of cancer disparities at the community level on disease incidence and treatment outcomes. Currently, only undergraduates actively engaged in computational projects or health disparities research benefit from their exposure to these essential research areas. Our proposed curriculum will ensure all our scholars develop a working understanding of these areas in addition to accomplishing substantive bench research with world-class faculty mentors. CREATE scholars will also experience clinical oncology components including physician shadowing and basic instruction in Phase I trial design. They will receive sustained programmatic and peer mentoring support as they navigate the next steps in their academic training. An important aspect of enhancing the cancer research workforce is outreach and engagement with student populations who do not have research opportunities due to their location or circumstances. SCCC is only the second NCI-designated center in the entire state of Florida. As such, our institutional summer program receives more qualified applicants than we can support, demonstrating a clear interest from undergraduates across the country in our cancer research resources and environment. We are, thus, in a unique position to offer the innovative CREATE program to help produce the next generation of cancer researchers with the comprehensive training and knowledge to succeed in oncology-based careers.
|Effective start/end date||8/1/21 → 7/31/22|
- National Cancer Institute: $302,284.00
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