Research

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We strongly promote academic research tracks for our Hematology/Medical Oncology fellows. Our academic basic and clinical/translational research career training tracks are flexible, but they often may require a commitment of at least one year beyond the time required for board certification, although trainees still will be eligible to take their ABIM subspecialty board exams after two years (for only Hem or only Onc eligibility) or three years (for both Hem and Onc eligibility). Sometimes the additional years of training can be accomplished with faculty appointments, first at the Instructor level and subsequently at the Assistant Professor level, as long as there is sufficient protected time provided for the trainee's research career development. We also provide opportunities for fellows on the ABIM Research Track to have 4-5 years of fellowship training.

We have very strong basic scientists in virtually all major areas of laboratory research related to cancer (e.g., signal transduction, cell cycle regulation, transcriptional regulation, apoptosis, adhesion molecules, pharmacology, drug design and development, cancer immunology and immune surveillance, mechanisms of T and B cell activation, biology and function of dendritic/antigen presenting cells, stem cells, hematopoiesis, and vaccine/gene therapy). Our primary clinical investigators have expertise in Phase I and II clinical trial design and conduct, translational research projects in collaboration with basic scientists and our basic science shared core facilities, and cancer control/detection/prevention research. Our clinical research activities are coordinated by each of our multidisciplinary disease-oriented and modality-oriented departments (e.g., malignant hematology, breast oncology, thoracic oncology, gastrointestinal oncology, genitourinary oncology, neuro-oncology, cutaneous oncology, geriatric oncology, blood and marrow transplantation). Moffitt Cancer Center has an innovative individualized medicine research program called Total Cancer Care®, with the world's largest combined clinical and molecular database of cancer patients and their cancer tissues, which is a rich resource for fellows and their mentors to ask and answer important retrospective and prospective research questions and to become involved in development of individualized mechanistic therapies for cancer patients. We also have a very strong group of cancer prevention and control researchers and comprehensive research support in terms of clinical research office, biostatisticians, biomedical informatics experts, and numerous core facilities to enhance the ability of individuals to conduct research requiring sophisticated techniques and equipment.

We have a Research, Academic and Career Development Committee within the Hem/Onc fellowship program, which provides an active advising and monitoring program, holding meetings with each fellow every 3 months to assist in identifying research projects and mentors, assist with development of research and career development plans, and monitor the academic progress and mentor-mentee relationships for all Hem/Onc fellows. There is a separate active mentoring program at Moffitt Cancer Center for trainees and junior faculty who have specific interests in phase I and phase II clinical trials research. An additional mentoring program is provided for all fellows who participate in the Master's degree program in Clinical and Translational Research.

A small portion of our fellows pursue an academic basic research career development track and a little over half of our fellows follow an academic clinical and translational research career training track. We custom tailor the training for each individual fellow, but the basic designs are similar. Unless the trainee has a prior Ph.D., MPH, or similar degree, a Clinical and Translational Research Track trainee could spend a large part of the second year and part of the third year taking classes and performing mentored research in a formal Scholars in Patient-Oriented Research Program, leading to a Master of Science (and in some cases continuing on for a Ph.D. degree) in Medical Sciences with a concentration in Clinical and Translational Research. Some fellows may not seek an advanced degree, but will take a combination of relevant clinical investigation, basic science, and career development-related courses to acquire the essential knowledge base and career skills to have a successful start in their chosen areas of research. Examples of courses included in the Master's and Ph.D. degree programs include: research ethics, cultural influences and diversity issues in research, how to perform translational and team research, biostatistics, epidemiology, clinical study design, experimental design and analysis (with basic science Ph.D. students), a broad range of graduate level basic science courses, scientific and academic communication skills, grantsmanship and grant writing, professional academic skill development, and mentored clinical and translational research seminar.

All fellows start working on projects such as retrospective reviews, case reports, review articles and book chapters and sometimes on already opened clinical trials during their first year of fellowship. Fellows begin planning their specific long-term mentored research projects (which also can serve as thesis projects for advanced degrees) during the first year and begin working on these long-term projects late in the first year or early in the second year of fellowship and work extensively on their major and usually secondary research projects during the last 2 years of fellowship training. We have local USF and Moffitt Cancer Center research days at which fellows are expected to present posters of their research projects. All fellows are expected to submit abstracts of research projects to national and international meetings to present their research work at those national forums. All fellows also are expected to publish at least one primary research article and some combination of retrospective patient chart review studies, review article(s), book chapter(s), and case reports. Also, the fellows should be working with increasing independence on their next generation of new research projects during the latter portion of fellowship training. Our intention is for the academic career training to be a gradual transition to independent investigator status, with ample protected time for research career development of junior faculty and continuing mentorship by more senior faculty. For the fourth year of training, in many cases the fellow who is performing well and who is going to remain as a faculty member at Moffitt Cancer Center will be appointed as a junior faculty member at the Instructor level. For subsequent years, they should be at a level of development that warrants appointment as Assistant Professor at any academic institution.

Hematology | Medical Oncology
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