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Cancer Immunology

Program Overview

Immunology is an essential part of any multidisciplinary approach to the study of human cancer. As such, the Training Program in Cancer Immunology will utilize as its foundation the existing strength in this area in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, which is the core of the Kimmel Cancer Center. Students in the Training Program will be enrolled in the KCC's Immunology Graduate Program and will obtain a Ph.D. degree in Immunology. The goal of the Program is to provide aspiring researchers with the training and experience necessary for them to develop careers as independent scientific investigators, with an emphasis on Cancer Immunology research. Research training is based on thesis work under the guidance of a preceptor and a Thesis Research Committee. In addition, trainees actively participate in Program functions such as seminars, journal clubs, and research discussion groups, all designed to enrich their educational experience.

Pre-doctoral students are required to take a core curriculum that consists of courses in the Fundamentals of Immunology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cell 8iology, Genetics, and Microbiology. This foundation curriculum is then followed by five advanced courses in Immunology, over a two-year period, covering a variety of topics in Tumor Immunology, Molecular Immunology and Immunogenetics, Cellular Immunology, Immunopathology, and Infection and Immunity. Additional elective courses in related fields are also available. Cancer Immunology trainees are also required to take courses in the Pathobiology of Cancer and the Molecular Basis of Cancer. Attendance is also required at an Immunology Journal Club, seminars, and a monthly KCC meeting for Translational Opportunities in Cancer Research, which foster interactions between basic and clinical scientists. In regard to research, students must complete three rotations in the laboratories of research preceptors with diverse interests in Cancer Immunology, before choosing a preceptor and direction for thesis work. Students periodically present seminars throughout their training and are required to present their research progress to their Thesis Research Committee twice a year. With the consultation of the Thesis Research Committee and the supervisory Graduate Studies Committee, the student may adapt the curriculum to fit his/her interests or prior experience. Students are constantly monitored and evaluated throughout their training and must pass a comprehensive exam at the end of their course work in the form of an oral defense of a written grant proposal.

The program of study leading to a Ph.D. degree is open to students who hold a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution who wish to enter biomedical research, as well as individuals who already hold or will obtain other professional degrees (M.D., D.O., D.V.M., or D.D.S.) and who wish to pursue an independent academic research career. Acceptance into the Cancer Immunology Training Program is based on the criteria of grade point average, GRE scores, performance in lab rotations, and performance in the graduate courses.

For the postdoctoral program, applicants must hold a Ph.D., or equivalent doctoral degree, and acceptance will depend upon past research and educational experience. The goal of this program is to develop highly trained, technically competent research scientists capable of performing and ultimately directing research in Cancer Immunology. To that end, trainees are required to audit courses in Tumor Immunology, Pathobiology of Cancer, and the Molecular Basis of Cancer, if they have deficient backgrounds in those areas. In addition, postdoctoral trainees are required to participate in the Immunology Journal Club, seminars, and the monthly KCC meeting for Translational Opportunities in Cancer Research.

Members of the Training Program in Cancer Immunology:

Arthur Buchberg, PhD
Laurence Eisenlohr, VMD, PhD
Tim Manser, PhD
Yuri Sykulev, PhD
Scott Waldman, MD, PhD
Jianke Zhang, PhD
Bruno Calabretta, MD, PhD

For program information contact:
Joanne Balitzky, Graduate Programs Coordinator, KCC
Telephone: 215-503-6687
Fax: 215-923-1098