ANNOUNCEMENT: May 19, 2021 - The CPRIT Oversight committee announced today that our research training grant, “The Future of Cancer Research: Training Program for Basic and Translational Scientists” has been renewed for an additional 5 years. We are also very proud to report that our grant was the top ranked grant (with an impact score of 1.4) of the 8 training grants that were funded by the oversight committee.
Since first awarded in 2010, we are grateful to have received three renewals from CPRIT, which have enabled us to train 447 undergraduates, 52 Ph.D. graduate students and 36 postdoctoral trainees. We are excited to receive this renewal grant and the opportunity to continue our impactful training program at MD Anderson. We also sincerely appreciate the institutional support and our many dedicated faculty mentors, which have contributed significantly to our program’s success.
Students on all tracks of our training program have excelled in their STEM education and careers. For instance, seven students who participated in the 2020 CPRIT CURE summer undergraduate program were awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. One of our graduate scholars received a Fulbright Fellowship in 2019, and several have high tier first author publications in journals such as Cell and Nature Communications. Our post-doctoral trainees also continue to amass first-author publications in top journals such as Cancer Discovery and Cancer Cell and secure independent research support including NIH K00, F32 and R01 Diversity Supplement awards. Moreover, our program outcomes importantly indicate similar successes for minority and non-minority students, suggesting our program helps to remove barriers to advancement in the cancer research field. As part of our renewal, we will continue to grow our program, recruiting top talent to train and conduct research alongside our esteemed faculty mentors.
This summer, 80 undergraduate students from across the country will arrive in Houston to take part in the 10th annual CPRIT CURE summer research program. We have no doubt these students will infuse the institution with their energy and deep interest in cancer research, and will be part of advancing our critical work to the next generation. We are thankful to all of the faculty mentors who have graciously agreed to accept students into their labs to take part in a hands-on research experience this summer. Through the NIH R25 grant that our team was also awarded this past year, we were able to expand our summer cohort and provide additional research training opportunities to underrepresented minorities in science. We have also established a collaboration with Dr. Hannah Wingate, NSF awardee, to provide training opportunities to undergraduate students at Houston Baptist University.
In closing, we would like to thank Dr. Pisters and Dr. Draetta for their continued support and investment in our CPRIT research training program, as well as its new initiatives, and Dr. Bodurka for her support of our summer undergraduate program. We are especially grateful to our mentoring faculty who have devoted much time and effort into providing outstanding training and guidance to our trainees over the last 10 years, and their commitment to our ongoing and future efforts to train the next generation of cancer researchers. We are thankful for the opportunity to continue to make a lasting impact on the professional and academic careers of research trainees with the help of CPRIT, NIH and the institution.
Khandan, Stephanie, Kara and Brittney
The MD Anderson Cancer Center CPRIT Research Training Program provides fundamental, interdisciplinary, and innovative training in cancer research at MD Anderson. This program is the continuation of a highly successful and comprehensive training program supported by the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas. The program includes three tracks: the CPRIT TRIUMPH (Translational Research in Multidisciplinary Programs) post-doctoral, CPRIT Graduate Scholar, and CPRIT Summer Undergraduate Research Programs.
TRIUMPH (Translational Research in Multi-Disciplinary Program) Postdoctoral Fellowship provides training in clinical and translational research. The immediate goal of this program is to recruit talented and productive Ph.D. students from top graduate programs to provide continued training in clinical and/or translational cancer research through didactic course work, clinical rotations, and unique, interdisciplinary mentorships. A long-term goal of this program is to produce translational scientists who can be teamed with suitable physician scientists to PI a translational research laboratory.
This is a three-year training program. First year postdoctoral fellows participate in a series of didactic clinical course work offered at the MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School (GSBS), MD Anderson Cancer Center, or the UTHealth McGovern School of Medicine and strategically matched clinical rotations, while pursuing research in a basic or translational research laboratory. Second and third year fellows are co-mentored by a basic science/translational scientist mentor and a physician/clinical scientist mentor on clinical/translational research projects. The TRIUMPH postdoc will earn a certificate upon successful completion of the program.
Click to view our 2020-2021 CPRIT TRIUMPH Program Brochure.
There are many reasons to choose TRIUMPH and MD Anderson Cancer Center for your postdoctoral training!
The TRIUMPH Program provides personalized postdoctoral training, professional development, and mentorship to each of our postdoctoral fellows during and after their TRIUMPH appointments. Guided by Individual Development Plans with input from our fellows, their research mentors, and their specialized faculty mentoring committees, we create and follow a customized training plan designed for your specific career goals. Along with the cutting edge research an innovation at MD Anderson, our TRIUMPH program will prepare you well for the next stages in your independent research career!
Why MD Anderson Cancer Center?
MD Anderson Cancer Center is one of the premier cancer care and research centers in the world. As a prominent and tertiary cancer center, our clinical and research faculty are world leaders in innovative and integrated cancer research. MD Anderson's clinical care centers and research programs are highly integrated with rich collaborations, plentiful translational research, a wide array of clinical trials, large biorepositories, and state-of-the-art clinical and research core facilities. This outstanding and collaborative training environment is just one of the many things that makes MD Anderson an ideal place for your postdoctoral training.
Life in Houston, Texas
Houston is a vibrant and culturally diverse city located in the gulf coast region of Texas. As a major metropolitan city, there are tons of thing to see and do while you're living life outside of the lab. From cheering on our local sports teams (Go Astros, Rockets, Dynamo, and Texas!) to exploring our rich museum and theater districts, dining with friends and family at the many amazing restaurants to taking advantage of all the outdoors has to offer with running, cycling, and kayaking, Houston has something special for everyone. Located centrally on the east coast of Texas, our postdocs can explore Texas Hill Country, the Piney Woods, the beaches of South Padre Island, or the fun of the Kemah Boardwalk and Galveston Island - all within a few hour drive. The cost of housing and living in Houston is very affordable compared with many other metropolitan cities and Texas does not collect a state income tax. Our two international airports make travel convenient and our friendly Texas hospitality is sure to help you feel welcome!
Here are some of the benefits and perks TRIUMPH Fellows enjoy:
Health & Medical Benefits:
Access to group dental & vision insurance
Access to short- & long-term disability insurance
Access to group term life insurance
Health & dependent/childcare spending accounts
Enrollment & contribution to TRS retirement system
Access to MD Anderson Employee Health & Well-Being Office
Time Off & Leave Benefits:
Annual vacation (120 hr) and sick leave (80hr) for full time fellows
Up to 480 hr FMLA leave (once eligibility is met)
Paid institutional holidays
Professional Development & Training Benefits & Perks:
Individualized Development Plan creation & review
Administrative and training support from dedicated program staff
Mentor-sponsored tuition & fees for TRIUMPH coursework
Interdisciplinary and cross disciplinary research training through monthly journal club
Annual travel stipend to present at national research conferences ($750)
Career & professional development workshops, seminars, and retreats
Scientific writing (manuscript & grants included) training & enrichment
Office of Postdoctoral Affairs & Development support and inclusion
Visa Office support for international trainees (provides visa advisement & assistance)
Scientific editing services (provided through Postdoc Association) for postdocs
Leadership training through the MD Anderson Leadership Institute
Support from the Center for Entrepreneurship Advancement
Opportunities for volunteerism and outreach
Social and networking activities and events
Continued support and mentoring during and after your TRIUMPH appointment
Individualized relocation assistance from TRIUMPH staff
Special discounts on apartments, moving companies, and relocation services
Complimentary membership to MD Anderson's exclusive on-site fitness center
Research Medical Library at MD Anderson on-site and online access
Corporate discounts that offer low rates or discounts on an array of services and products (e.g. personal cell phone service) to MD Anderson employees
Employee Assistance Program (a confidential diagnostic, consultation, and referral service for employees experiencing personal, relationship, or work-related difficulties)
Salary & Compensation:
Salary is commensurate with NIH stipend guidelines.
Senior graduate students anticipating successful defense within one year as well as early career postdocs are encouraged to apply now!
- Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. from a top graduate program (U.S. or abroad) in any of the life or natural sciences within the last three years
- Dedication to pursue translational cancer research
- Junior post-doctoral fellows (less than one and a half years of experience) and graduate students within one year of their anticipated defense date are encouraged to apply
- Publications in top tier journals (must have at least one accepted or published first or co-first author paper in a journal with an impact factor >8 at the time of application)
- United States citizenship or permanent residency is not required. All foreign fellows must have an active visa for the duration of the fellowship
Established Post-Doctoral Fellows:
- Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. from a top graduate program (U.S. or abroad) in any of the life or natural sciences
- Dedication to pursue translational cancer research
- Must have no more than 3 years of post-doctoral experience by the time one starts our program if accepted
- Has two or more first or co-first author papers in journals with an impact factor of >8. At least one publication should stem from previous post-doctoral work
- United States citizenship or permanent residency is not required. All foreign fellows must have an active visa for the duration of the fellowship
Please email all documents to Dr. Kara Lewis (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Brittney Edwards (email@example.com) for submission.
Applications should include:
- Curriculum Vitae
- PDF reprints of all first author publications
- Three letters of recommendation
Letters should be written on official letter head and contain original signatures. They should be submitted by email from the referees institutional/organizational email account to Dr. Kara Lewis (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Brittney Edwards (email@example.com). A confirmation email will be sent to confirm receipt.
- A two-page essay describing your goals and dedication toward a career in translational cancer research. Essay should be single-spaced and in 12-point Arial or Times New Roman font
The current application cycle closes on September 30, 2021.
There will be four annual application cycle deadlines for 2021: March 31, 2021, June 30, 2021, September 30, 2021, and December 31, 2021.
MD Anderson Cancer Center 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 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center are security sensitive and subject to examination of criminal history record information. Smoke-free and drug-free environment.
CPRIT TRIUMPH postdoctoral fellows will complete 12-15 credit hours of didactic coursework that is specifically tailored to the needs and growth of each fellow. Coursework may include (but is not limited to) the following:
GS04 1235 Basic and Translational Cancer Biology (5 units)
Hu, Jian, Ph.D. and Weiger, Michael, Ph.D. Five semester hours. Offered Spring, annually.
GS21 1132 Human Protocol Research (2 units)
Janku, Filip, M.D., Ph.D. Two semester hours. Offered Spring, annually. Prerequisite: None.
GS12 1164 Human Pathobiology (4 units)
Hickson-Bick, Diane, Ph.D. Four semester hours. Offered Spring, annually. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
GS21 1232 Translational Science: Bedside to Bench and Back (2 Units)
Kopetz, Scott, M.D, Ph.D. Two semester hours. Offered Fall,annually. Prerequisite: None.
GS21 1613 Translational Cancer Research (3 Units)
Bast, Robert, M.D. Two semester hours. Offered Spring, annually. Prerequisite: Cancer Biology preferred.
GS21 1014 Design and Management of Clinical Trials (4 Units)
Buzdar, Aman, M.D. Four semester hours. Fall, spring and summer, annually. Minimum prerequisite: Bachelor's degree.
Fellows must attend a monthly CPRIT Journal Club and present once annually.
TRIUMPH Fellows will complete 3-5 clinical rotations in various clinical oncology areas during their TRIUMPH training. Clinical rotations are individualized to the needs of each fellow and their research projects and may include:
Surgical Oncology Rotation
Director: Donald Baumann, M.D.
This rotation will provide thefellow exposure to the role of Surgery in the multidisciplinary care of the cancer patient. This experience will include a combination of rotations on the breast, gastrointestinal, colorectal, sarcoma, melanoma, urology, gynecologic, thoracic, head and neck, neurosurgery, orthopedic, and plastic and reconstructive surgery services. The fellow will meet with Dr. Baumann before the rotation begins to discuss which subspecialty rotations will be most beneficial to the fellow.
The goals of the rotation are to: (1) introduce the fellow to the role of oncologic surgery and reconstructive surgery in the multidisciplinary care of cancer patients, (2) provide exposure to the comprehensive evaluation of patients prior to receiving their surgical treatment, (3) allow observation of patients in outpatient clinics before, during, and after surgical therapy; longitudinal evaluation of patients will allow for an understanding of the impact of surgical treatment and natural history of specific malignancies, (4) allow the fellow to observe a wide variety of surgical procedures in the operating room, and follow tumor specimens from surgery to pathology to gain exposure to intraoperative specimen evaluation and (5) introduce the fellow to ongoing clinical and translational research protocols and the processes involved for patients enrolled on clinical trials. Each fellow will attend 2 days in clinic and/or operating room weekly; the monthly Division of Surgery Grand Rounds; and the weekly multidisciplinary conference appropriate to the assigned surgical rotation. The fellow will meet periodically with Dr. Baumann to ensure that optimal teaching and benefit is being derived.
Radiation Oncology Rotation
Director, Wendy Woodward, M.D., Ph.D.
This rotation will be divided to allow experiences with two disease-site services over an 8-week period. Disease-sites will be selected according to the candidate’s areas of research interest and areas in which the best educational opportunities exist.
The goals of the rotation are to provide the CPRIT TRIUMPH fellow with (1) a preliminary understanding of the role radiation therapy plays in the multidisciplinary management of cancer, (2) an overview of how radiation treatment planning is performed and how radiation treatments are delivered, (3) an overview of how radiation achieves its therapeutic effects from a biological perspective, (4) a preliminary experience with the clinical practice in radiation oncology. During the 8-week rotation the fellow will attend radiation oncology planning clinic (held three mornings a week); attend radiation oncology grand rounds (once weekly); attend the Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology Seminar series (once monthly); spend one day in radiation treatment planning and delivery (work in dosimetry and on a treatment machine); rotate under the direct mentorship of a clinical faculty member on two disease sites and attend multidisciplinary clinical case conferences and other educational forums during their rotations on the disease sites.
Investigational Cancer Therapeutics (ICT) Rotation
Director, David Hong, M.D.
The main purpose of the ICT rotation is to provide the fellow with an introduction to early cancer drug development. The CPRIT TRIUMPH fellow will be paired with one of the current ICT fellows and directly mentored by a clinical faculty member.
The goals of the rotation are to provide the fellow with: (1) a preliminary understanding of the process of early drug development from both regulatory and scientific perspectives, (2) an overview of the nature and design of phase I cancer trials, (3) an overview of the emerging targeted therapies and biologic targets in cancer therapy, and (4) a preliminary experience in the ICT clinic and the management of phase I cancer patients. During the 8-week rotation the CPRIT TRIUMPH fellow will attend the weekly protocol planning meeting (Mondays), ICT planning rounds and seminars (Wednesdays) and ICT journal club and preclinical club (Wednesdays). They will also present both at the journal club and preclinical club; rotate under the direct mentorship of a clinical faculty member (clinic twice a week); attend weekly team meetings of his/her clinical faculty member; attend protocol site activation meetings and drug pipeline meetings.
Director, Aysegul Sahin, M.D.
The CPRIT TRIUMPH fellow will learn about the general operation of the histology, immunohistochemistry, gross pathology and frozen section laboratories and will rotate on the frozen section and cytopathology services and multiple subspecialty services within surgical pathology. The latter will include a combination of rotations on the breast, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, gynecologic, thoracic, head and neck, skin, soft tissue and bone, hematopathology, and neuropathology subspecialty services.
The goals of the rotation are to (1) introduce the fellow to the role of diagnostic surgical pathology and cytopathology in the multidisciplinary care of cancer patients, (2) demonstrate how cytology fluids, aspirates, tissue biopsy and surgical resection specimens are received and processed in the laboratory, (3) demonstrate how tissue specimens are evaluated and sampled for immediate intraoperative and subsequent histologic evaluation, and provide exposure to processes for handling and using leftover tissue for research, (4) allow the fellow to observe how a wide variety of cancer specimens are evaluated microscopically to provide information necessary for patient management, including diagnosis, histologic and molecular classification, tumor grade, pathologic stage, and the status of resection margins and (5) demonstrate the variety of technical methods used to assess biomarkers in cancer specimens and how different biomarkers are interpreted and used for patient management. To achieve these goals the fellow will spend (1) one week (3 full days) in the Gross and Frozen Section Laboratory with surgical pathology fellows, pathology assistants, and a pathology faculty member; (2) one week each (2 days a week) on 5 different surgical pathology subspecialty rotations to observe the gross and microscopic evaluation of cancer specimens with a subspecialty pathology faculty member and attend related clinical conferences; (3) one week on the cytopathology service and (4) 2 half days with a faculty member in the Tissue Qualification Laboratory and the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory and a half day observing processes in the histology and immunohistochemistry labs.
Medical Oncology Rotation
Director: Rachna Shroff, M.D.
The goals of the rotation are to: (1) introduce the fellow to the role systemic therapy plays in the treatment of cancer, (2) provide an exposure to the comprehensive evaluation of patients prior to receiving systemic therapy, (3) allow observation of patients in outpatient clinics before, during, and after systemic therapy, (4) provide the opportunity for the fellow to engage in the decision-making process that ensues when choosing appropriate systemic therapy regimens, (5) introduce the fellow to a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care, with an emphasis on the timing and sequencing of systemic therapy as part of an overall treatment strategy and (6) introduce the fellow to ongoing clinical and translational research protocols and the processes involved for patients enrolled on clinical trials. To achieve these goals, the fellow will spend (1) one month each in two medical oncology departments, with an optimal educational and research benefit determined by the student and Dr. Shroff; (2) attend the assigned clinic 2.5 days or 5 half-days weekly; (3) attend the weekly multidisciplinary conference appropriate to the assigned medical oncology department.