News Release: Admission and Financial Aid, Student Life, Teaching

Oct. 5,  2010

New Doctoral Program in Cancer Biology Links Winship With Graduate School

News Article ImageErwin Van Meir, PhD, professor of neurosurgery and hematology and medical oncology, and the program¿s founding director.

A new interdisciplinary doctoral program in cancer biology will allow students with a primary interest in cancer research to train with faculty associated with Georgia’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center — the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

Emory University’s Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (GDBBS), a division of the Laney Graduate School, in partnership with Winship, is creating a new doctoral program in Cancer Biology and will begin accepting students in the spring of 2011 for fall enrollment.

The Cancer Biology graduate program will provide students with the ability to focus their course work and training specifically in all domains of cancer research. Although graduate students have been able to work in laboratories at Emory specializing in cancer, organizers expect the new program to expand training and research opportunities.

“There has been considerable interest in cancer among applicants to the GDBBS, yet no single program existed to capture students who have a primary interest in cancer research. Our goal is to recruit the brightest young scientists interested in cancer,” says Erwin Van Meir, PhD, professor of neurosurgery and hematology and medical oncology, and the program’s founding director.

Students will be able to tailor their training, addressing areas such as the basic cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive cancer initiation and progression, or the more clinical and translational aspects of cancer therapeutics and drug discovery.

“The creation of a graduate program in cancer biology aligns with Winship’s strategic vision, which includes education of the next generation of cancer scientists,” says Walter Curran, MD, executive director of Winship. “This is an important program that will influence the field of cancer research in the years to come.”

Like other PhD training programs in the GDBBS, the Cancer Biology program stands outside a single departmental base. As such it will draw from a diverse base of Emory faculty with active research labs representing several departments within the School of Medicine, the School of Public Health, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory College departments including Chemistry, Biology and Physics, and the nearby Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“It’s important to recognize that the Cancer Biology program will enhance and complement the other graduate programs within the GDBBS,” says Keith Wilkinson, professor of biochemistry and director of the GDBBS. “Because of its interdisciplinary approach and large number of training opportunities, the Cancer Biology program will fit well within the GDBBS.”

Lisa Tedesco, PhD, Laney Graduate School Dean, is enthusiastic about the new program. “The Cancer Biology program promises to be an outstanding area for doctoral student preparation, in its contributions to new science and new cures, with high impact in basic, translational and clinical research.”

The new program will initially accept six new students per year with matriculation starting in Fall 2011 and applications opening this month. The Cancer Biology program will represent the ninth PhD program within GDBBS, and the first new program in over a decade.

Paula Vertino, PhD, Emory professor of radiation oncology, will serve as director of graduate studies. Lawrence Boise, PhD, professor of hematology and medical oncology, will serve as director of recruitment.

More information about the program, or to apply.

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