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Karmanos, WSU’s Cancer Biology Graduate Program continues legacy of top-notch training with renewal of long-running T32 grant

The Cancer Biology Graduate Program in the Department of Oncology at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSU SOM) has received a five-year, $1,199,505 training grant (T32 CA009351) from the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute. 

Receipt of this award will bring the program to 30 years of continuous funding from this training grant by the time it expires in 2017.   When reviewed earlier this year, the renewal application received a “perfect” score of 10, which is very difficult to achieve, according to Karmanos officials.  

The T32 training grant supports six senior Ph.D. and/or M.D./Ph.D. graduate students involved in cancer research in the Cancer Biology Graduate Program, including underrepresented minorities.  Training draws from the outstanding clinical and research facilities at Karmanos and WSU SOM and the expertise of 19 accomplished faculty in areas ranging from neoplastic development, and invasion and metastasis, to cancer therapy, prevention and cancer epidemiology. 

“It is our view that our unique interdisciplinary graduate curriculum with a focus upon the biology of cancer that interfaces with clinicians engaged in cancer diagnosis and treatment provides an excellent means of training specialists with a sufficient breadth of perspective for successful independent careers in cancer research and education,” said Larry H. Matherly, Ph.D., principal investigator and director of the Cancer Biology Graduate Program, professor of Oncology and Pharmacology and program leader of the Molecular Therapeutics Program at Karmanos and WSU School of Medicine. 

A cornerstone of the training environment is the Cancer Biology Graduate Program. The program currently has 31 graduate students and provides an outstanding educational experience that integrates extended cancer courses, seminars by local and nationally/internationally recognized speakers, student-faculty research retreats, attendance at national/international meetings, and specialized workshops and courses, ultimately culminating in a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology.  

Graduate students in cancer biology have the opportunity to become familiar with state-of-the-art concepts and methods in molecular and cell biology research related to cancer, with cutting-edge technologies through Karmanos’ research cores, and receive clinical exposures to the cancer problem by “rounding” with oncologists at Karmanos.  The program also provides training in “responsible conduct of research,” grant writing,  and insights into career options upon graduation. Training of the most outstanding graduate candidates from the program is enhanced by their competing for appointment to this NCI-sponsored training grant, thus equiping them to pursue successful careers in cancer research. 

“During the previous 25 years of support from the NCI, the program has trained an impressive group of cancer biologists who are substantially contributing to basic and translational cancer research and educational efforts at universities and research institutes throughout the United States,” Dr. Matherly said. “We are thrilled that this vital training program will continue its long legacy of educating researchers who may find the cure to cancer.”
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