January 12, 2012

VU investigators eligible for cancer training grants

The National Cancer Institute has awarded Vanderbilt a $4.4 million, five-year grant to fund training for senior fellows and junior faculty for careers in cancer-oriented research. This is a renewal of a current grant program.

The goal of the Vanderbilt Clinical Oncology Research Career Development Program is to train skilled clinician scientists who can design and implement clinical oncology trial research and lead translational research projects.

The education and training grants are open to scientists from any Vanderbilt division or department as long as the trainee and mentor are focused on clinical oncology research and the research must fulfill the definition of patient-oriented investigations.

“Over the past decade, 22 individuals have received support funds from this grant program and 16 of these clinician scientists remain on our faculty,” said Kenneth Hande, M.D., professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and former director of the Fellowship Program.

"When we are recruiting junior faculty members and researchers, the availability of this award for career development is a nice addition to our recruitment efforts.”

The grant provides up to $100,000 per year in salary support and funds for tuition to the Vanderbilt Master of Clinical Investigation Program, Master of Public Health Program or the Certificate Program in Molecular Medicine. The grant also offers $2,000 per year for travel to scientific meetings and approximately $15,000 in research supplies.

In the past, the training program only accepted candidates with a medical degree, but this year, in addition to three M.D.s, there is one slot reserved for a post-doctoral Ph.D. candidate. All trainees will be required to spend a minimum of two years in training.

The deadline to apply for the grant is Feb. 1, and awards will be announced in April.

The research development program requires trainees to participate in a structured research study supervised by at least one approved mentor.

They must engage in a formal didactic, scientific training program with the expectation that they will obtain an advanced degree. Research projects must have a laboratory component adequate to give the trainee experience and comfort in laboratory research. Trainees and mentors must report training and research progress to an advisory committee every six months and each departmental director must guarantee a minimum of 75 percent protected time for each participant.

Annual training in Responsible Conduct of Research is required and trainees must publish a peer-reviewed research manuscript or submit a master’s thesis for review prior to completion of the program. Trainees must also write a grant application prior to completion of training, although obtaining a grant is not required.

For more information or to apply for the grant support, contact Kenneth.hande@vanderbilt.edu or call 322-4967.