Moffitt inspires new generation of scientists

June 22, 2006

TAMPA, Fla. – A group of college students is spending the summer at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute trying to help find a cure for a disease that’s killing men in their community. Black men are more likely than white men to get prostate cancer. They are also more likely to die from the disease. Moffitt is hosting four undergraduates from Florida A&M University as part of the Project INSPIRE (Interest, Need, Stimulate, Persevere, Ideas, Relevance, Excellence) program.

“There is a critical need to inspire and increase the number of young scientists from underserved groups and create a cadre of culturally sensitive, well-trained scientists,” says Nagi Kumar, Ph.D., director of nutrition at Moffitt Cancer Center and coordinator of the INSPIRE program. “Hopefully, they’ll improve research and ultimately contribute to reducing this disproportionate burden of prostate cancer incidence and mortality in African-American men.

Students from the historically black university are working alongside scientists in this hands-on research program. They’re participating in biomedical, clinical and population sciences research. Kumar expects the students to conduct original studies on prostate cancer, present scholarly papers and publish their work along with their mentors. The ultimate goal is to attract these young scientists to careers in prostate cancer research.

In 2001, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute earned NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center status in recognition of its excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Additionally, Moffitt is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Hospitals for cancer. Moffitt’s sole mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.