Research Training

Research or other scholarly activity is expected of fellows in either basic or clinical investigation. Early in the first year, each fellow will choose a mentor from division or Cancer Center faculty members. They will work closely with that individual to help define their career interests and then to develop a training track as a laboratory-based or clinical researcher or as a clinician/educator. For those who focus on research, clinical responsibilities are limited in years 2 and 3 so the trainee may concentrate on research endeavors. Research fellows may be supported by an institutional NIH training grant, and are expected to gain experience writing research grants or clinical trial protocols during fellowship. Submission of an abstract to a national meeting is an expectation of successful fellowship training. This demonstration of scholarly competence is considered a key element of the program.

Fellows are expected to participate in enrolling patients in clinical trials including those sponsored by the cooperative groups [Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Colon Project (NSABP), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG), Great Plains Hemophilia Center, and the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma study. Hematology and oncology institutional protocols include the study of phase I and phase II chemotherapeutic agents, autologous and allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, monoclonal antibodies, hematopoietic growth factors, biologic response modifiers, and quality of life analyses.

Office space is provided for fellows. A personal divisional computer with access to on-line literature searches is also available.

Training Expectations for Research

Each fellow will be expected to complete a minimum of 6 months (a minimum of at least 50% time when averaged with clinical rotations) of research during the 3-year fellowship. Generally, research time is taken as a single block of time with COC time reserved at a minimum as a half-day clinic per week.

Research Proposal:
To facilitate developing a viable research proposal the fellow will work with their assigned mentor to identify a topic of interest and worthy of research time and effort. It is recommended that the fellow and mentor arrange to present the research proposal to the Fellow Research Conference. The project must be reviewed and approved by the Program Director.

Research Project Requirements:

  • A research proposal in sufficient detail as to define the goal of the project, the general methods to be used and how data will be analyzed and reported – will be developed with the project mentor and provided to the Program Director at least 3 months in advance of starting the project
  • At a minimum, the fellow will be required to give a presentation at the Fellow Research Conference as planned research, research in progress or research completed
  • In addition, fellows will be required to write and submit an abstract for a national meeting
  • Highly desirable for a research project is a completed manuscript submitted to a peer-reviewed journal

During this segment of training, the fellow will attain skills for:

  • Developing a focused and testable hypothesis or hypotheses
  • Constructing experiments to provide data that will adequately test a hypothesis
  • Understanding the important of appropriate controls for experiments being done
  • Evaluating data
  • Understanding rudimentary statistical tests required to analyze data
  • Being able to write and submit an abstract to a national meeting

Goals and Evaluation

  • It is expected that the fellow will show increasing knowledge about the area of research under study and will demonstrate this by participating in laboratory meeting discussions, by designing and interpreting experiments and by constructing advanced hypothesis as new data become available
  • The laboratory experience will be evaluated by the fellow every 6 months using a program evaluation form
  • The fellow will be evaluated by the laboratory mentor every 6 months using a program evaluation form