H. LEE MOFFITT CANCER CENTER AND RESEARCH INSTITUTE HOSPITAL, INC.
This T32 application for a Tumor Immunology Training Program at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center has the goal of training postdoctoral fellows to enter the field of translational immunology and immunotherapy of cancer. The eighteen faculty members comprise of an equal number of basic scientists and clinical investigators who have a history of working together in solving problems related to tumor immunity. Together, they form a team that addresses 3 major areas of tumor immunology 1) innate immunity, 2) adaptive immunity, and 3) immunotherapy of cancer. The approaches have been molecular, defining the signal molecules and gene regulatory components that are involved in NK cells, dendritic cells, myeloid cells, stem cells, and T cells. Antigens that can be recognized by T cells in cancer patients are also identified and means to overcome immune tolerance are sought out, based on findings in the laboratory. This environment provides an ideal setting for training of postdoctoral fellows in bench-to-bedside research as well as bedside- to-bench work. We request 2 new postdoctoral fellows, at the Ph.D. level, per year, with consecutive funding for three years, resulting in 6 total fellows by the third year. An Educational Committee, headed by Dr. Julie Djeu, with a faculty member from each of the 3 areas of research, will oversee the training. It involves a structured program with a formal research proposal from the mentor/mentee pair and regular evaluations of progress and a plan for career development. In addition to laboratory research, trainees will participate in Research-in-Progress Seminars, attend Basic and Clinical Grand Round from outside speakers, and take appropriate classes pertaining to their research. Those closer to a translational focus will have a basic as well as a clinical mentor, and will have exposure to patients in the hospital including Clinical Rounds. Experience with regulatory issues such as IRBs, INDs, and Human Safety will also be gained. State-of-the-art Core Facilities at the Cancer Center will also providing valuable training experience in numerous areas including proteomics, genomics, flow cytometry, analytical microscopy. This in-depth training will allow the postdoctoral fellow to become a successful researcher in molecular and translational immunology in academia or industry.