Research Training

Fellows work closely with the Program Leadership to identify a research mentor and project by the end of the first year of fellowship. In the second and third year of fellowship, fellows have 18 months of protected time (6 months in the second year and 12 months in the third) to develop the project into what we hope will form the foundation of an investigative career.

Fellows pursuing training in the Medical Research pathway are welcome to continue the subspecialty portion of training at CUMC. Fellows choose among an extremely wide range of research activities within the Division, the Cancer Center, the Medical Center and the University at large. Research possibilities include laboratory-focused research, clinical/translational research, or public health, epidemiology and population science in the Mailman School of Public Health.

The aim of research training is to provide a basis for fellows to become independent investigators. Fellows selecting laboratory investigation often find mentors in the faculty of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, which supports more than 200 researchers with special expertise in: cancer genetics and epigenetics, cancer regulatory networks, lymphoid development and malignancy, breast cancer, prostate cancer, neuro-oncology, cancer epidemiology, cancer prevention/control and health disparities research.

Fellows utilize shared resources that include bioinformatics, confocal microscopy, molecular pathology, transgenic mice facilities, small animal imaging, proteomics and genomics technologies.

Fellows selecting public health or outcomes investigation often take focused course work in epidemiology, clinical trial design and biostatistics, and they have the option of obtaining a Masters of Public Health or Masters of Science degree. Fellows who become engaged in clinical investigation at the medical center usually work with one or more clinical investigators within the Division.

Therapeutic clinical trials evaluate cutting edge agents spanning targeted small molecules and biological therapies, including cell-based treatments. Novel therapies draw upon close working relationships with pharma that allow early access to developing agents and treatment approaches derived from CUMC investigators.

Fellows are part of multidisciplinary research teams that include biostatistics, clinicians and laboratory investigators to facilitate bench-to-bedside translational research.

Research training is augmented by participation in a formal Grant Writing course at CUMC that provides hands-on-training to initiate a track record of research funding. The course requires each fellow to write a grant in the format of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award applications. These are 5-page proposals organized into Hypothesis, Specific Aims, Background, and Experimental Plan.