Cancer Biology, Pharmacology and Molecular Therapeutics

The Cancer Biology, Pharmacology, and Molecular Therapeutics track in the PEMM program provides comprehensive training leading to a Ph.D. or combined M.D.-Ph.D. degrees. The faculty has developed a rigorous course of study and created a supportive environment aimed at providing students with all the tools necessary to compete effectively for the attractive positions in the biomedical sciences. In addition to journal clubs and one elective, course work in Cancer Biology or Current Approaches in Experimental Therapeutics is required.

The molecular biology revolution has yielded unprecedented volumes of information on the origins of cancer and the numerous genetic changes underlying the disease. This knowledge is providing a revolution in therapeutic strategies. Even now, patients primarily receive drugs whose activity against the tumor is limited by unacceptable toxicity. But the future is much brighter with the development of rationally-designed agents that target many of the molecular characteristics of the tumor, thereby providing greater protection to the patient. Other approaches hope to intercede in the process of carcinogenesis before tumors even develop. Our goal is to educate accomplished scientists with high scientific integrity, who think critically, communicate effectively, and have skills that will permit contribution to diverse professional settings within academia, industry, and beyond.

The goal of this program is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the biology of cancer, the underlying mechanisms, and the possible means to prevent and treat the disease. Each student will undertake a unique research project, using many of the modern tools of cell and molecular biology to answer important questions in the field of cancer research and to help with the overall goal of eliminating suffering and death from this disease.