Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people


Co-Principal Investigator: Robert Weiss
Co-Principal Investigator: Margaret McEntee

Contact Information: Email: rsw26@cornell.edu; Phone: 607-253-4443
Sponsor: College of Veterinary Medicine – Internal Institutional Training Grant Program
Grant Number: N/A
Title: Comparative Cancer Biology Training Program
Annual Direct Cost: $112,500
Project Period: 10/01/10-09/30/12

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This proposal is to establish a comprehensive interdisciplinary training program in comparative cancer biology. This program is designed to address a clear need for structured training in cancer research for both basic and clinical trainees. A broader goal for the proposed program is to establish an organizational structure for cancer research at the Veterinary College that will bring together basic and clinical scientists and promote synergistic interactions with other investigators from throughout Cornell University. The training program includes 27 faculty trainers from the College of Veterinary Medicine, including both basic and clinical faculty. Funding to partially support 3 predoctoral trainees, 2 postdoctoral trainees, and 3 residents is requested. These trainees will be selected from a pool of 31 candidates who were nominated by faculty trainers. Among the nominees are 12 individuals with DVM or BVSc degrees. Selection of trainees for support and general oversight of the Program will be performed by an Executive Committee that includes two basic research trainers, two clinician trainers, and one external advisor. The Executive Committee will seek to evenly distribute funding between basic and clinical trainees. The training program will emphasize rigorous, hypothesis-driven cancer research. Trainees will benefit from a dual mentoring arrangement in which each trainee has both a primary faculty trainer and a co-mentor. Basic research trainees will have a clinical co-mentor and will be required to participate in clinically oriented educational activities. Conversely, clinical trainees will have a basic scientist as co-mentor and will be required to participate in basic science educational activities. Each trainee will be required to give a presentation on their research project at least twice during the funding period and to submit an annual progress report. New comparative cancer biology activities to be developed include designated cancer biology seminars (generously supported by several Units in the College) and associated journal clubs designed to familiarize trainees with the literature related to the seminar topic. In addition, the training program will feature two major cancer research retreats that will gather faculty trainers and trainees for research presentations and discussions, as well as informal interactions. Select cancer researchers from other Departments on the Ithaca campus and from Weill Cornell Medical College will be invited to attend the retreats as an important step toward establishing a broader cancer program that fully leverages the strengths in cancer research at our University, include basic molecular mechanisms, animal models, the physical sciences, and veterinary and human medicine. This training program will set the stage for an intercampus cancer biology NIH training grant and provide a much-needed organizational structure that will greatly enhance cancer research at Cornell.