Following the first year of clinical training, fellows may devote the next two or more years to basic or clinical research. This provides an outstanding opportunity for fellows to train with faculty not only within the Section of Hematology/Oncology but also in other departments within the University.
Interaction between interdisciplinary research programs and clinical training programs has been a hallmark of The University of Chicago for many years. Within the Biological Science Division (BSD), unique interdepartmental committees are responsible for training in a variety of disciplines related to cancer, including Cancer Biology, Cell Physiology, Immunology, Genetics, Geriatric and Clinical Pharmacology. Within this context, many members of the section of hematology/oncology are involved in one or more interdisciplinary training programs, many of which are supported by NIH training grants.
Training Program in Hematology and Medical Oncology
The purpose of the training program in Hematology and Medical Oncology at the University of Chicago is to prepare outstanding postdoctoral trainees who have completed residency training in internal medicine for research intensive careers in academia, government, industry, or private health systems. The direction of the program, the integration of training in basic research and clinical oncology, has continued to evolve since the program’s inception in 1987. We have significantly enhanced training in cancer genomics, immunology, bioinformatics and population and health services research.
History: The University of Chicago has a long tradition of excellence in cancer research and the environment is ideal for interdisciplinary training of the next generation of oncology leaders. This tradition includes: the 1941 discovery of the remarkable effects of hormone therapy on prostate and breast cancer culminating in the 1966 Nobel Prize to Dr. Charles Huggins; the 1942 discovery of the striking effectiveness of nitrogen mustard against Hodgkin Disease by Dr. Leon Jacobson, former Dean of the Biological Science Division; the 1971 discovery of the 9;22 translocation creating the Philadelphia chromosome in CML culminating in the 1998 National Medal of Science to Dr. Janet D. Rowley; and the 2004 Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research presented to Dr. Elwood Jensen, for discovery of the estrogen receptor which had a rapid, direct and lasting impact on treatment and prevention of breast cancer. Our training program is committed to fostering the careers of the next generation of physicians who are poised to continue this tradition of excellence in translational cancer research.
Training Program and Scientific Environment: The Section of Hematology/Oncology (H/O), is the largest sub-specialty section in the Department of Medicine, and is part of the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCCCC). The Section as well as the UCCC form the foundation for the training program’s research environment. The activities of our training faculty encompass a broad range of research. To create new interdisciplinary research programs, The University of Chicago has expanded the infrastructure for “Team Science” and translational research. One of the most exciting and unique visions for collaborative research is the construction of several new buildings: the innovatively organized Gordon Center for Integrative Science (GCIS) which houses the Ben May Cancer Research Institute, the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery (KCBD), which houses physician scientists in H/O and the Institute for Molecular Engineering which houses a strong cancer immunotherapy group. The University has also deployed significant resources to genomics, bioinformatics and computational biology with the establishment of NCI’s Genomic Data Commons on our campus. The training program receives additional NIH support through a T32 grant for fellows and the Paul Calabresi K12 grant which supports the transition of trainees from fellowship to independent junior faculty.
What’s New for Our Research Training Program: In addition to enhanced training in genomics, immunology, public health sciences, health services research, two new Master’s degree programs have been started 1) MSc in Public Health Sciences for Clinical Professionals (MSCP) and 2) MSc in Biomedical Informatics within the ITM. These programs will prepare postdoctoral trainees for careers as independent and collaborative researchers with a focus on clinical research and medical informatics. New training opportunities such as these are critical to building a strong, enduring pipeline for developing the next generation of leaders in clinical and translational research. Trainees in our T32 program will have protected time and the opportunity to obtain Master’s degrees before pursuing full time faculty appointment in oncology. Based on emerging opportunity to engage in quality improvement projects, our fellows are also increasingly working on quality improvement projects within the University of Chicago hospitals or in partnership with our community network partners to improve quality of cancer and hematology care on the Southside of Chicago. We have instituted opportunities for fellows interested in health systems, clinical trials and patient care to rotate through private oncology practices. We signed a partnership agreement with AbbVie for those interested in industry to work for extended periods of time at AbbVie. Lastly, through the University of Chicago Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, fellows can learn how to bring drugs and ideas to market.
Departmental units involved in our oncology research training activities:
- Members of the adult section of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Medicine
- Members of The University of Chicago Cancer Research Center who are clinicians or scientists from other basic science departments or committees involved in oncology-related research
- Faculty from the Department of Public Health Science
- Faculty from the MacLean Center for Ethics Research
- Faculty from the Harris School of Public Policy
- Faculty from the School of Social Science Administration
- Committee on Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics
- Center for Personalized Therapeutics
- Committee on Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS)
- Committee on Cancer Biology Ben May Institute for Cancer Research
- Committee on Genetics, Genomics, and Systems Biology:
- Committee on Immunology
- Center for Global Health
- Center for Research Informatics
There is opportunity for joint training in medical oncology and clinical pharmacology or geriatrics.
Clinical Therapeutics in Oncology
The joint training program in Clinical Therapeutics in Oncology is a unique fellowship that combines comprehensive training in oncology and clinical pharmacology and pharmacogenomics. Fellows not only fulfill the requirements for board certification in hematology/oncology, but also for American Board of Clinical Pharmacology accreditation as well. A primary feature of this program is protected, mentored time for independent research that would lead the trainee to becoming an independent academic investigator in any of the broad disciplines related to cancer pharmacology. Candidates with specific interest in cancer drug development, personalized therapeutics, systems pharmacology and pharmacometrics, pharmaco-economics, or pharmacogenomics should consider applying to the joint program. For additional details on the training program and application information, click here.
The selection of outpatient and inpatient clinical sites offered through The University of Chicago, Department of Medicine, exposes fellows to a diverse patient population not usually found in academic medical centers.
Each fellow in the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program completes 12 months of intensive clinical training. The program offers an invaluable opportunity to learn about elder patient care in a variety of settings. Fellows collaborate with a Geriatrics Social Workers and Advance Practice Nurses and other sub-specialty physicians. In addition, fellows spend time on the Inpatient General Medicine Service under the direction of a geriatrics attending. Fellows also participate in consultations in conjunction with the geriatrics attending on the other medical and surgical services in the hospital. For more information about the Fellowship Training Program in Geriatric Oncology, click here .
The curriculum for trainees integrates interested in pursuing a career in geriatric oncology ideally integrates training in both disciplines. In general, fellows will pursue clinical geriatrics training in the first year, including inpatient, outpatient and long-term care experiences, but also with oncology continuity clinics. The fellow then pursues more traditional medical oncology training with clinical education and a research training program focused on geriatric patients. Alternatively, some trainees pursue geriatric training after first completing medical oncology training.