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Fellowship Program

The Department of Symptom Research offers training and research opportunities for health care professionals interested in research and patient care related to symptom control. Read more about our research

A special emphasis of Department of Symptom Research programs is to reduce or prevent the symptom distress of patients undergoing aggressive therapies for their cancers. Current studies are examining the contribution of inflammatory dysregulation to symptom expression, and clinical trials are examining the effects of modulating inflammation as a treatment approach. The research studies conducted by the Department of Symptom Research are typically multidisciplinary collaborations with other groups both within and without MD Anderson, including medical, radiation, and surgical oncologists. We attract funding from the National Cancer Institute and other federal, state, local and industry sources, as well as from private foundations and MD Anderson itself. For more information about the Department of Symptom Research, visit our home page.

The Hawn Educational Program in Symptom Research

The Department of Symptom Research seeks applicants for a one-year (renewable for a second year) postdoctoral fellowship that is part of a broad research program of understanding and treating the symptoms related to cancer and its therapy. These symptoms include pain, fatigue, emotional distress, appetite loss and sleep disturbance.

Qualifications for this full-time position include a doctoral degree in psychology, public health or one of the social sciences. Successful candidates will be expected to be familiar with the management and analysis of large data sets of biological and subjective report data, to help manage large, funded clinical trials with biobehavioral outcomes and/or to develop and validate subjective-report instruments (patient-reported outcomes) and determine how they perform longitudinally.

To apply, send cover letter, curriculum vitae and professional reference list by e-mail to our department administrator, or mail documents to:

Charles S. Cleeland, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Symptom Research
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Attn: Hawn Foundation Application
1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Unit 1450
Houston, Texas 77030

MD Anderson is ranked by postdoctoral fellows among the top five workplaces in the United States. MD Anderson is consistently rated as one of the Best Places to Work for Postdocs in The Scientist magazine's annual survey, having occupied the top spot in 2007.

The Hawn Foundation

The Hawn Educational Program in Symptom Research is supported by the Dallas-based Hawn Foundation, Inc., which has provided funding to charitable, educational, scientific and literary institutions since 1963. For more than a decade, the Foundation’s substantial investment in symptom research at MD Anderson has been crucial in our quest to improve the comfort and functioning of cancer patients. The Hawn Foundation has supported the establishment of the Department of Symptom Research at MD Anderson, funded international research through the WHO Collaborating Center in Supportive Cancer Care based in the Department of Symptom Research, and established a symptom research training program that is critical to meeting the need for additional, well-trained investigators in this field.

The MD Anderson educational programs supported by the Hawn Foundation are bridging communications between basic and clinical investigations, allowing us to quickly translate laboratory discoveries into more effective symptom control measures for patients with cancer, both in the United States and worldwide.

International Research and Clinical Training in Symptom Research

We accept two trainees per year for appointments ranging from three to six months to a full year. Funding for these positions is variable and is not guaranteed. If you are a health care professional interested in learning more about symptom research, symptom control and palliative care through this program, please contact us at:

Charles S. Cleeland, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Symptom Research
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Attn: International Research and Clinical Training Program
1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Unit 1450
Houston, Texas 77030

Past trainees in this program have come from many countries around the world, including China, Japan and Korea. They have learned about symptom control research, cancer pain management, pediatric pain management and hospice care through department-sponsored alliances with MD Anderson, Texas Children's Hospital and the Hospice at the Texas Medical Center.


MD Anderson Cancer Center is located within the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world. Houston is a dynamic, multicultural city with a very affordable cost of living.

MD Anderson is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability or veteran status except where such distinction is required by law. All positions at MD Anderson are security sensitive and subject to examination of criminal history record information. Smoke-free and drug-free environment. Women and minority candidates are encouraged to apply.

Related News

Symptom Research hosts national colloquium on developing strategies for reducing cancer treatment-related toxicities and symptoms. Read more...

 Cancer Symptom Science

Announcing the publication of Cancer Symptom Science, an interdisciplinary, first-of-its-kind compilation of research on the mechanisms underlying the expression of cancer-related symptoms. Read more...

Old Drugs, New Possibilities (Conquest, Fall 2008)

Symptom Research Awarded NIH P01 Grant (Division of Internal Medicine Newsletter, Summer 2008)

Symptom Research and Psychometrics (Network, Summer 2008)


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center