Career Development Program

Co-Director: Kathleen A. Cooney, M.D.going to a new website
Co-Director: Diane Robins, Ph.D.going to a new website

Read about the: Current Career Development Projects

The field of prostate cancer research has been greatly hindered by the paucity of new investigators entering into the field. In recognition of the need to help establish independently funded investigators in the field of translational prostate cancer research, the UMCCC Prostate SPORE has supported two to three junior faculty per year. The focus of the Career Development Program is to give investigators the ability to generate data that will become the preliminary data for prostate cancer R01 grant applications. Career Development awardees are currently funded for a maximum of two years, subject to annual review. Individual departments supply matching funds.

The Specific Aims of the Career Development Program are as follows:

Specific Aim 1: Recruit and support investigators with outstanding potential in translational prostate cancer research.

Specific Aim 2: Maintain a strong program to mentor selected investigators

Specific Aim 3: Oversee and guide translational science to produce successful translational research

Drs. Kathleen Cooney, M.D. and Diane Robins, Ph.D. are co-directors of the program.

Dr. Cooney is a medical oncologist with appointments in internal medicine and urology. Dr. Cooney is the "clinical" resource mentor for the career development program. Currently, Dr. Cooney serves as the Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology within the Department of Internal Medicine and Deputy Director for Clinical Services for the UMCCC. Dr. Cooney is exceptionally well-qualified to serve in this role. In addition to actively mentoring trainees at all levels in her own research program, she is also the principal investigator for the NCI-funded Oncology Training Grant.

Dr. Robins is a Professor of Human Genetics in the UM Medical School. Dr. Robins will serve as the "basic science" resource mentor for the Career Development Program. Currently she has a leadership role in the new Cancer Biology Program with past service as director of graduate studies for 12 years in the Department of Human Genetics. Dr. Robins is devoted to scientific education and trainee mentoring. She has successfully mentored numerous graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, medical fellows, and KO8 awardees during her career.


Career Development Project 1

Principal Investigator:
Todd Morgan, M.D., Department of Urologygoing to a new website
Title: Understanding the role of cancer stem cells in minimal residual disease

The goal of this project is to identify molecular characteristics of clinically significant disseminated tumor cells (DTC). We hypothesize that clinically significant DTCs in early stage prostate cancer are likely to be cancer stem-like cells (CSC).

Career Development Project 2

Principal Investigator:
Scott Tomlins, M.D., Ph.D., Departments of Pathology and Urologygoing to a new website
Title: Molecular subtyping of high risk prostate cancer

The overarching goal of this proposal is to develop robust, routinely applicable molecular subtyping assay interrogating common aberrations in prostate cancer from both DNA and RNA. Importantly, these assays will not only determine the underlying molecular subtype, but will also interrogate the major transcriptional modules present in prostate cancer, and will be informative for androgen receptor (AR) signaling status.

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