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Cancer-Translational Nanotechnology Training Program (Cancer-TNT)

Jianghong Rao

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National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The proposed postdoctoral training program, Cancer-Translational Nanotechnology Training (Cancer-TNT) Program, is a diverse and synergistic 3-year training program bringing together 25 faculty and 9 Departments from three schools to train the next generation of interdisciplinary leaders who will pursue challenges in cancer research and clinical translation. Cancer nanotechnology is a rapidly growing field that requires close interactions of researchers from disparate fields of science, such as chemistry, materials science, cancer biology, and medicine. During the proposed 5-year cycle, we will recruit a total of 12 postdoctoral trainees to provide them with education and cross-disciplinary training to develop interdisciplinary researchers in cancer nanotechnology translation. Eight (8) trainees will complete training during the 5-year cycle. Our trainees' skill sets will bridge multiple disciplines such as chemistry, molecular biology, bioengineering, molecular imaging, nanoengineering, and clinical cancer medicine. Trainees will be able to advance cancer research, diagnosis, and management. The Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS) from the medicine side, with the Departments of Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering from the engineering side, will provide a solid foundation for our program. The Stanford environment also leads a productive Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (CCNE-T), an NCI Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, an In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center (ICMIC @ Stanford), the highly effective interdisciplinary Bio-X program, facilities for Nanofabrication and Nanocharacterization, as well as Nanoinformatics capabilities, the Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection, and a Physical Sciences Oncology Center (PSOC), in which several of our mentors have leading roles. Through these activities, we have already been successfully training the next generation of cancer nanotechnologists and we are excited by the possibility to formalize and expand training activities through the Cancer-TNT. Our program includes a diverse group of faculty mentors representing five program areas. Through this mentor group, we are able to bring together formal courses in cancer biology, cancer immunology, molecular imaging, molecular pharmacology, and gene therapy, nanomedicine, micro/nanofabrication, biochips, electrical engineering, and materials science; hands-on training activities in Nanocharacterization; and a clinical component including Stanford Oncology Clinical Lecture Series. The Cancer-TNT fellows will be recruited into a 3-year program to complete coursework and research with two complementary mentors. Trainees will prepare a mock grant proposal in their second year to help them gain experience and confidence in the grant application process. A Training Committee will oversee trainee progress, with an Advisory Committee monitoring the entire program. Stanford University, with support from the NCI, is poised to be a major training center for the rapidly growing field of cancer nanotechnology.

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