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Frontiers in Stem Cells in Cancer

Gerald Schatten

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National Cancer Institute (NIH)
This new application seeks NCI sponsorship for our innovative multidisciplinary advanced R25 Cancer Education Grant Program (CEGP) in FRONTIERS IN STEM CELLS IN CANCER (FriSC2) to train promising physician-scientists and other scientists from predominately underrepresented communities in sophisticated technologies using pluripotent stem cells for clinically relevant discoveries in cancer; it is prepared in response to PAR-08-120. FriSC2 offers dynamic advanced training courses that provide a fresh series of daily lecturers on emerging concepts, followed by extended discussion, laboratory research, technologically intense workshops and informal seminars over week-long periods (first offering March 14-19, 2011 at Howard), alongside ongoing research opportunities and mentoring. The Course is directed toward young independent scientists, physicians and established investigators. The primary aim is the development of two complementary short courses (entry-level lab demonstrations to up to 125 trainees, followed by an intense advanced laboratory-based training for up to 16 participants) to educate and update cancer researchers on the implications of stem cells for mechanistic discoveries and designing improved strategies for treating cancer, and then, through pilot research projects and on-going mentoring, to help launch and sustain their independent research careers on the clinical and translational aspects of cancer and stem cells. This CEGP also provides an innovative educational opportunity to motivate biomedical trainees to pursue scientific careers in cancer research. The target audience is young and established faculty already involved in cancer investigations, as well as advanced postdoctoral fellows eager to learn about the newest findings and controversies regarding the implications of stem cell discoveries for cancer. The courses are to be offered at predominantly minority institutions, including Howard University (years 1, 3 and 5) and Ponce School of Medicine and Health Science (years 2 and 4), under the overall directorship of Gerald Schatten, Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine along with Provost James Wyche from Howard University and Idhaliz Flores, Ph.D. from Ponce School of Medicine as Co-PIs. The three specific aims are to: I. Provide conceptual education and experimental training in the methods necessary for investigations of cancer and stem cells; II. Provide participants with specific opportunities to discuss career planning and collaboration with senior scientists in order to foster career development; and III. Educate participants on the ethical, social and legal implications (ELSI) and the regulatory landscape in which PSC research occurs, so that students begin their own research programs in the most ethical and responsible manner and avoid needless pitfalls and delays. The purpose of this training course is to provide comprehensive and sophisticated training in research strategies and state-of-the-art methods on cellular, molecular and genetic approaches for advancing the Frontiers in Stem Cells in Cancer Research.

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