Partnership for the Advancement of Cancer Research Project

Full Research Project Seven

Undergraduate student training in cancer research

Co-Principal Investigators:
Julian Simon, Associate Member, Clinical Research and Karen Peterson, Associate, Human Biology - FHCRC
Michele Shuster, Assistant Professor, Biology - NMSU

There is a severe shortage of well-trained diverse scientists conducting research on the disparate incidence and mortality from cancer. The low representation of diverse researchers in scientific disciplines affects the delivery of education and resources to targeted communities and reduces the availability of role models and mentors for under-represented populations. Without diverse role models and leaders, it is difficult to provide positive messages regarding the importance of minority participation in cancer research, cancer prevention, and cancer treatment. Thus, a need exists to recruit and train diverse students for careers in cancer control research. We propose a continuation of our successful collaborative training and education program between New Mexico State University (NMSU) and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) with the primary goal of enhancing training and educational opportunities in cancer research for NMSU undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students. Specifically we propose to: 1) Enhance and implement a cancer research training program for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students at NMSU by a) Creating web-based tools to enhance the summer internship program at FHCRC for NMSU undergraduate students and b) Implementing professional development workshops to better prepare under-represented students for success in graduate school. In addition, we plan to: 2) Enhance cancer knowledge of undergraduate students at NMSU by adapting and implementing a cancer education program at NMSU. The components of this aim are to: a) Develop, implement, and assess epigenetic and bioinformatics-based curriculum modules, learning objectives, and case studies for undergraduates in Biology 385: Introduction to Cancer Biology, b) Develop, implement and assess a model to train Cancer Teaching Fellows to effectively teach course modules in Biology 385; and c) Video record courses delivered at the FHCRC by Cancer Teaching Fellows, for use in teaching and independent study at NMSU. The resources generated by this project will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and web-based tools. The proposed training and education program will build upon the success of the existing program, and offer innovative strategies to further enhance the opportunities for under-represented students to gain the skills and training to conduct state-of-the-art cancer-related research.

For More Information

For more information about the Cancer Research Internship for Undergraduate Students, please visit: or contact Dr. Michele Shuster.

For more information about the Cancer Teaching Fellows program, please visit:  or contact Dr. Karen Peterson or Dr. Michele Shuster.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is a world leader in research to prevent, detect and treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.