The purpose of the Markey Cancer Center research community is to identify and appropriately support a collaborative community of investigators dedicated to the Markey Cancer Center mission of reducing the morbidity and mortality of cancer.
Cancer centers promote cancer-focused research through formal scientific programs, which are formed by groups of investigators who share common scientific interests and goals and participate in competitively funded research. Program members are selected based on their scientific excellence and for their commitment to collaborate and work together. Program members contribute to the objectives of the cancer center in four important ways: cancer research, education, dissemination and care.
Research programs are highly interactive and lead to exchange of information, experimental techniques and ideas that enhance the individual productivity of scientists, often resulting in collaborations and joint publications. Ultimately, programs' success is measured by the emergence of productive collaborations. How this is achieved will vary with the center and the needs of particular programs. Formal or informal planning meetings, seminars and retreats, developmental funding of selected pilot projects, new shared resources, or key recruitments may be effective ways of promoting increasing levels of interaction (from the Cancer Center Support Grant Guidelines).
The Markey Research Programs
The Markey Cancer Center has a critical mass of excellent, cancer-relevant scientific research programs, which include:
- Cancer Cell Biology and Signaling
- Cancer Prevention and Control
- Drug Discovery, Delivery and Translational Therapeutics
- Genomic Instability, Epigenetics and Metabolism
These four programs and their members facilitate scientific discovery and its translation into direct benefits to patients and the general public. Those activities help maintain the six essential characteristics, listed below, required for National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive Center designation.
The Six Essential Characteristics of an NCI-Designated Cancer Center
(from NCI Cancer Center Support Grant Guidelines)
- Facilities dedicated to the conduct of cancer focused research, and to the center’s shared resources, administration and research dissemination should be appropriate and adequate to the task.
- Organizational capabilities for the conduct of research and the evaluation and planning of center activities should take maximum advantage of the parent institution’s capabilities in cancer research.
- Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaboration and coordination: Substantial coordination, interaction and collaboration among center members from a variety of disciplines should enhance and add value to the productivity and quality of research in the center.
- Cancer focus: A defined scientific focus on cancer research should be clear from the center members’ grants and contracts, and from the structure and objectives of its programs.
- Institutional commitment: The center should be recognized as a formal organizational component with sufficient space, positions and resources to insure organizational stability and fulfill the center’s objectives.
- Center director: The director should be a highly qualified scientist and administrator with leadership experience and institutional authority appropriate to manage the center.