Launching cancer research careers

Throughout its history, the Masonic Cancer Center has been dedicated to training the next generation of cancer researchers. Masonic support has been especially meaningful in the center’s efforts to help graduate students and postdoctoral fellows establish themselves as independent researchers. Recent funding has enhanced the work of three training programs, in particular, including the: 

  • Molecular, genetic, and cellular targets of cancer training program: Now in its 46th year of NCI support, this program provides training to those who are interested in discovering the mechanisms of cancer development and progression, with a focus on the discovery of new targets with clinical potential. The program, led by Carol Lange, Ph.D., draws on the expertise of 36 faculty preceptors and annually supports four predoctoral and five postdoctoral trainees with one-on-one research mentoring, core coursework focused on all aspects of basic and translational cancer research, career development workshops that help trainees polish critical skill sets, networking opportunities, and more. 
  • Translational and genomic pediatric cancer epidemiology research training program: Led by Logan Spector, Ph.D., this program aims to expose trainees to a wide spectrum of pediatric cancer research areas, with an emphasis on genetic epidemiology. It provides opportunities for one predoctoral and three postdoctoral students to learn and grow under the leadership of 19 mentoring faculty. The trainees have the chance to conduct translational and genomic research in humans, animals, and the petri dish; participate in pediatric cancer seminars and conferences; present their own research at national meetings; and receive training in grant writing. 
  • Minnesota Training Program in Virology: Drawing on the expertise of 34 accomplished faculty leaders, this program, led by Louis Mansky, Ph.D., helps predoctoral trainees gain crucial skills in researching a wide variety of viruses, including human cancer-causing viruses, as well as virus vectors and oncolytic viruses used to attack various cancers. Training and career development highlights include foundational coursework in virology; seminars, lectures, and attendance at local, national, and international symposiums to present research findings; career-enhancing networking; mentoring on the preparation of predoctoral fellowship applications; and participation in educational and community outreach.