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Cancer Biology, Informatics & Omics Training Program

 

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Overview: The Cancer Biology, Informatics & Omics Training (CBIO) training program in the School of Medicine (SOM) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) provides PhD students and post-doctoral scholars with training in fundamental discovery cancer research that emphasizes big data acquisitions through Omics technologies and big data analyses by using Informatics and Machine Learning tools.

Trainees in CBIO spend two years in the program to fulfill the training requirements. During the two-year training period, trainees receive stipend, tuition/fees, and travel support either from the CBIO training grant (T32CA067754) or from fellowships awarded to individual  trainees. The training grant has the budget to support 3 predocs (PhD students) and 3 postdocs each year. With trainee fellowships, more than 6 trainees per year have participated in CBIO training activities. 

 

Scientific Rationales for CBIO Training: (i) Advancements in cancer diagnosis and treatment are propelled by basic research discoveries on cancer-relevant biological processes; (ii) Cancer Omics Technologies (Genomics, Epigenomics, Proteomics, Metabolomics) have provided a wealth of data, which when intelligently analyzed, not only facilitate the delivery of precision cancer medicine but also enable cancer-relevant translation of novel insights and new mechanisms deduced from model organism research; (iii) Modern investigation of cancer biology in the human system requires knowledge and proficiency in omics technologies and computational tools. 

CBIO Training Goals: (i) Achieve research excellence in advanced systems and approaches; (ii) Acquire foundational knowledge on cancer biology and bioinformatics through coursework; (iii) Develop translational insights through CBIO Monthly Scientific Meetings, Cancer Genomics Journal Club, and the MolecularTumor Board at the Moores Cancer Center (MCC); (iv) Keep pace with cancer biology, informatics and omics research advancements through seminars and workshops; (v) Facilitate career development through mentoring, workshops, retreats. and participation in national/international scientific meetings. 

CBIO Training Environment: The CBIO program leverages the continuing expansion of biomedical research in the UCSD SOM to identify faculty mentors with cancer-relevant research expertise, productive research programs, principled research conduct and outstanding training history from the Departments of Cellular & Molecular Medicine, Medicine, Pathology, Pediatrics, PharmacologySurgery and others. The CBIO program activities expose trainees and faculty mentors to a diversity of systems, approaches and technologies that are employed and/or being developed to investigate the complex biology of cancer. The CBIO program has fostered research collaboration among faculty and trainees and will continue to function as a nexus for cancer-focused research and training in the SOM at UCSD. 

Trainee Selection: The CBIO program selects trainees with outstanding academic achievements and cancer-focused research interests. Predoc trainees are selected from PhD students in the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) graduate program and have been accepted by CBIO facutly as thesis students. Priorities are given to students from under-represetned minority groups and students who have successfully completed the minor proposition exams. Postdoc trainees are selected from candidates nominated by self or by CBIO faculty. Priorities are given to postdocs with productive publication records and research interests focused on cancer biology, informatics or omics technologies. 

Program Administration & Evaluation: The CBIO program Executive Committee, consisting of the CBIO Program Director, Co-Directors, and two other CBIO faculty mentors, selects and evaluates trainees and faculty. The CBIO External Advisory Committee (EAC) and Internal Advisory Committee (IAC) conduct annual reviews to evaluate the effectiveness of CBIO in reaching its training goals. CBIO trainees and faculty also evalute the program annually by participation in anonymous surveys conducted by the CBIO program staff.