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Mentoring Builds, Shares Knowledge

Annual Report - Winter 2010

By Mary Jane Schier

The term “mentor” can be traced to Greek mythology.

But a book published in 1699 by French writer François Fenelon gets credit for its modern meaning: a trusted friend, counselor or teacher.

The definition is much broader at M. D. Anderson, which in the last year launched new mentoring programs to enhance career development for junior faculty and trainees. These efforts include the first Mentoring Day, a comprehensive Mentoring Handbook for Faculty and web-based tools for mentors and mentees.

“Mentoring in academia has always been important for the sharing and building of knowledge. I want every faculty member to know he or she is fully supported and will have the tools and resources necessary to develop a successful and rewarding career,” says Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., provost and executive vice president.

In spring 2009, DuBois launched the Provost’s Career Builders Series, which features prominent scientists from other institutions sharing their perspectives on building solid careers in academic medicine.

The Department of Faculty Development also has enhanced services for new and junior faculty, who are invited to bi-annual retreats, workshops and lectures to discuss their career goals. Other programs that match postdoctoral trainees with veteran faculty members have been expanded.

All programs are aimed at improving the way M. D. Anderson nurtures the young physicians and scientists who will continue the quest of curing cancer.

Making the rounds

Provost and Executive Vice President Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., initiated monthly Research Rounds in 2009 to hear about promising collaborative studies by young scientists throughout
M. D. Anderson. He is shown listening to Jing Lu, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, describe research she coordinated with her mentor, Dihua Yu, M.D., Ph.D. (center), professor in the department. The research involved finding a key molecular mechanism for the deadly transition of non-invasive breast cancer into invasive disease.

Reported in the Sept. 9, 2009, issue of the journal Cancer Cell.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center