The goal of the Translational Oncology Training program (TOTP) is to train the next generation of cancer researchers who are equipped with the tools and knowledge that will enable them to bring bench-top discoveries into clinical trials and vice versa. TOTP is funded by National Cancer Institute (T32CA247819).

The fellows and students in this program will receive unique training in four different but highly integrated themes:

  • Preclinical Modeling (PCM) — focuses on analysis of pathways and signaling involved in tumor progression using various preclinical models to identify potential therapeutic targets and biomarkers.
  • Cancer Image Guidance (CIG) — provides training in state-of-the-art, image-guided diagnostic approaches and nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems.
  • Cancer Bio-Validation (CBV) — teaches up-to-date bioinformatics skills in multi-omics setting to study and analyze large cohort patient databases.
  • Clinical Translation (CLT) — preceptors with ample experience provide guidance on how to translate basic knowledge into clinical trials.

The majority of preceptors of this T32 program are in the departments of Cancer Biology and Internal Medicine Section of Hematology/Oncology. This structure merges strong clinical and basic science entities in the Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center. However, this training program is multidisciplinary and preceptors come from 11 different departments. 

Unique features of this training program include: 

  1. Four highly integrated translational themes ranging from preclinical studies to clinical trials.
  2. Inclusion of PhD postdocs and MD fellows to promote both bench-to-bedside and bedside-to-benchtop translational cancer research.
  3. An individualized mentor team consisting of both PhD and MD faculty.
  4. Boot camp for clinical trial preparation for trainees.
  5. Support from Disease Oriented Teams (DOTs) from the Comprehensive Cancer Center. 
  6. Transition to Independence (TTI) program to support trainees to become independent through preparation for K-type applications.
  7. Broad-based career opportunities and development plans such as PhD/MBA for graduate students. 

Therefore, through this training program, PhD fellows/students will learn how they can bring basic science knowledge to the bedside, while MD fellows will have a deeper understanding of translational, hypothesis-driven research. 

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