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Education and Training at Markey

Students presented their work to Markey researchers at the annual Markey Cancer Center Research Day.
Students present their work to Markey researchers at the annual Markey Cancer Center Research Day.

The Bluegrass state has the highest cancer incidence and mortality rate in the country. It is clear that innovation and excellence in research are required to break this cycle. At Markey, we are committed to educating and training promising new scientists, putting them in a position to effect change.

Accordingly, the UK Markey Cancer Center’s Oncology Career Enhancement Program provides education opportunities, experiences and extensive research training to students ranging from the high school to postdoctoral level.

The program is committed to the center’s mission to reduce cancer incidence and mortality within Kentucky through research innovation. Career development activities offer participants diverse research perspectives and the opportunity to engage in immersive training.

Learn more by exploring opportunities below and the educational resources available at Markey. For more information, please contact the Associate Director of Cancer Education and Mentoring, Dr. Kathleen O’Connor or the Cancer Education Coordinator, Dr. Erin Oakley.

  • Elementary and High School Programs

    Our outreach programs challenge area high school students to work on projects in Markey labs. Throughout the program, students have a series of opportunities to meet and shadow cancer researchers. Those committed to long-term projects have the opportunity to carry out their research projects under the mentorship of cancer center members. It is an excellent way to expose young students to the common causes of cancer while highlighting the importance of research. More than 500 students have participated since 2013 and the program continues to provide these enriching opportunities each academic year

    For more information, please contact your local guidance counselor or Cancer Education Coordinator, Dr. Erin Oakley.

  • Undergraduate Programs

    MCC Appalachian Career Training in Oncology (ACTION) Program

    The ACTION Program trains high school and college aged students to be the next generation of cancer researchers, education/prevention experts, and health professionals in Kentucky. ACTION prepares them to incorporate the new, state-of-the-art techniques learned during their trained period into successful cancer-focused careers. Visit the full ACTION Program webpage for more information.

    Summer Undergraduate Research in Environmental Sciences (SURES) Program

    The Summer Undergraduate Research in Environmental Sciences Program is a summer program that immerses underprivileged and underrepresented upper-level undergraduates in environmental health research for 10 weeks. This program provides students an opportunity to get involved in problems often studied by Markey Research Programs such as Cancer Prevention and Control (CP) and Genomic Instability, Epigenetics and Metabolism (GEM). For more information and eligibility, please visit the SURES program webpage or contact Dr. Hollie Swanson.

  • Graduate Level and Post-Doctoral Programs

    Markey Cancer Center faculty are the recipients of several training grants from the National Cancer Institute and other NIH-affiliated institutions. As Markey continues its mission to train the next generation of cancer researchers, these programs are utilized for advancing graduate and post-doctoral education. MCC members serve as primary mentors training graduate students, post-doctoral scientists and visiting scholars.

    Learn more about the graduate programs available to trainees on the Integrated Biomedical Sciences webpage, based in the Office of Biomedical Education. Graduate program details are available on department pages such as:

    Post-doctoral scientists and visiting scholars can contact individual in laboratories in the Markey Cancer Center for research opportunities. Explore our Researcher Directory hereFurther research opportunities are available through our multiple T32s.

    T32: Interdisciplinary Research Training in Cancer Biology

    This T32 is recommended for:

    • Pre-doctoral students
    • Post-doctoral fellows

    This T32 grant from the National Cancer Institute (T32 CA165990), led by Vivek Rangnekar, PhD and B. Mark Evers, MD is a multi-disciplinary program.

    This program focuses on training pre-doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows in cancer biology so that they can answer the important research questions associated with human cancer. 

    To apply for a pre- or post-doctoral position related to this training grant, please visit the Interdisciplinary Research Training in Cancer Biology landing page. Here you will find submission eligibility requirements, instructions, deadlines, fellowship policies, course requirements and more for this T32.

    T32: Oncology Research Training for Surgeon-Scientists

    This T32 is recommended for:

    • Medical residents interested in oncology research

    This T32 grant from the National Cancer Institute (T32 CA160003), led by B. Mark Evers, MD, and Kathleen O'Connor, PhD is a two year intensive and interdisciplinary basic science research training program for those committed to pursuing a career in academic oncologic surgery.

    This program requires qualified trainees to obtain a Master’s or PhD degree in Clinical and Translational Science, while preparing surgeons to become independent, successful academic scientists.

    To apply for a post-doctoral position related to this training grant, please visit the Oncology Research Training for Surgeon Scientists landing page. Here you will find eligibility requirements, submission instructions, deadlines, fellowship policies, course requirements and more for this T32.

    T32: Molecular Mechanisms of Toxicity

    This T32 is recommended for:

    • Pre-doctoral students

    This T32 (T32 ES007266) from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences provides support for four pre-doctoral trainees to understand the factors governing environmentally induced human disease including cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disease.

    The training program is based in the Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology, where trainees are mentored by a team of 18 core faculty. These faculty members provide a rich training environment focusing on three major themes: oxidative stress, DNA damage and repair and metabolomics. For more information on eligibility requirements, please visit the T32 webpage or contact Program Director Dr. Daret St. Clair.

    T32: Multidisciplinary Approaches for Metabolic Disease

    This T32 is recommended for:

    • Pre-doctoral students

    The primary goal of this T32 (T32 DK007778) from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases is to prepare promising pre-doctoral students for successful careers in nutritional sciences, with a focus on nutrition as a key influence on human disease.

    This program, based in the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, is led by a core faculty of 29 established researchers and mentors. This team provides training centered around four major themes: obesity/diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neuroscience/aging. For more information on eligibility requirements, please visit the webpage or contact Program Director Dr. Nancy Webb.

    CCTS TL1 Clinical and Translational Science Training Program

    This program is recommended for:

    • Pre-doctoral students
    • Post-doctoral fellows

    The TL1 Training Program in Clinical and Translational Science aims to provide pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees with the skills needed to develop a career in clinical and translational research fields.

    The main objective is to provide clinical and translational research training that is integrated with ongoing professional or graduate research programs. Learn more about related graduate research programs below:

  • Faculty Mentorship Program

    Early-Career Faculty Mentoring Committees

    Each early-career faculty member recruited to MCC is assigned a mentoring committee by Dr. Kathleen O’Connor and MCC Research Program Leaders. These committees are uniquely tailored to the needs of the individual, with one member chosen as committee chair. Faculty recruited to other departments are also eligible to participate in our faculty mentorship program. Those interested in obtaining mentorship can contact Dr. Kathleen O’Connor.

    The individual mentorship committee meets with the mentee at least three times a year (or more often during development of the first independent grant application) to plan, monitor progress, and plan for any potential problems. These Mentors review grant applications prior to submission, help interpret critiques, and offer feedback on proposal resubmissions as needed.

    Center for Cancer and Metabolism

    The Center for Cancer and Metabolism (CCM) is a COBRE-funded program that provides robust support from MCC mentors focused on the role of metabolism in the development and treatment of cancer. The center supports Metabolism and Imaging facilities and four research projects led by junior faculty.

    One clinical and two basic science mentors guide each investigator with project development in cancer metabolism, help facilitate grant applications and manuscript submissions, and aid in establishing networking opportunities. For more information, contact Drs. Daret St. Clair and Peter Zhou.

    Clinical Trials Boot Camp at Markey Cancer Center

    Markey sponsors a short term, intensive workshop in the essentials of developing effective clinical trials for new investigators and junior faculty clinical researchers in oncology. This workshop provides lessons in the design of high-impact therapeutic interventional trials as well as the resources needed to complete the protocol life cycle, submission process, budgeting, internal review, FDA, IRB and activation / launch.

    Drawing from years of experience and expertise, senior clinical investigators and basic science researchers collectively guide workshop attendees in the development of high-impact protocols within the center’s strategic portfolio of clinical trials. Staff help pair participants with the resources needed to support successful therapeutic studies, such as SEER/KCR data warehouse and services offered by Markey’s Shared Resource Facilities.

    Graduates from this training program have successfully competed for extramural and intramural funding, and gone on to be principal investigators leading active clinical trials at Markey and other academic cancer centers.

    Center of Research in Obesity & Cardiovascular Disease

    The Phase II Center of Research in Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease (COCVD) at UK is COBRE-funded program that develops promising junior investigators. Junior scientists will serve as principal investigators on research projects that address questions related to obesity and cardiovascular disease.

    Junior investigators are mentored by a group of established, extramurally funded scientists.  This mentorship facilitates the development of the investigators’ research projects and enhances their success in competing for NIH-funding.

    For more information, please contact COCVD COBRE Program Director Lisa Cassis, Ph.D.