MIPS Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford

ICMIC@Stanford 2010 - 2015

Course Work

The ICMIC@Stanford Career Development Program is designed to be as flexible as possible to attract highly qualified candidates with the passion and ability to make an impact on cancer research that will benefit patient care in terms of diagnosis, therapy, and monitoring. This overarching theme will guide the process of candidate selection and lead to successfully trained individuals who will be capable of leading their own independent research teams in the field of molecular imaging cancer research. ICMIC@Stanford has a carefully constructed career development program supported by extremely well qualified faculty with years of experience in teaching, research, mentoring and clinical patient care. In addition to the interdisciplinary ICMIC@Stanford faculty members, our program will also include the entire MIPS faculty of both full and associate members who will be available for mentoring.

The candidates who will be invited to join this program will be well trained in basic science or in imaging science and will have an energy and drive to impact the growing field of molecular imaging cancer research. We will strive to recognize and pursue those applicants who demonstrate a passion for solving cancer puzzles through the merger of molecular imaging and molecular biology. The accepted candidates will benefit greatly from the cross-disciplinary nature of this program, with access to the specialized resources and a diverse population of potential mentors. The required coursework (see below) will complement their research efforts, giving these developing scientists an overview of the latest research in the molecular imaging field. This coursework will also present them with opportunities for interaction with many of the ICMIC@Stanford and MIPS faculty and for developing their research interests. The fellows will also benefit from the Stanford research community, with the potential of interacting with other fellows in the many existing training programs in imaging and cancer-related research. The ICMIC@Stanford career development program will result in scientists who are well-trained in the cross-disciplinary nature of molecular imaging in cancer research and will be prepared for establishing productive research efforts in these fields.

With the ICMIC@Stanford we will train candidates who are interested in the study of the imaging sciences and cancer biology with a focus on multimodality molecular imaging as it applies to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of cancer patients. Under the ICMIC@Stanford umbrella individuals committed to the program, either as mentors or as trainees can expect to benefit by having access to and by being exposed to a broad range of intertwined disciplines. Our primary goal is to train and "produce" scientists who are committed to leading their own independent research groups. Although there may be an exceptional graduate student who will qualify as a trainee in the program, we expect most of our trainees to be further along in their careers. Interested individuals will have had some exposure to molecular biology, imaging sciences, or cancer research and thereby have developed an interest in molecular imaging, and would like to focus on combining imaging, cancer biology, chemistry, and physics.

Trainees will have a wide range of courses available to them but will only be required to participate in the courses and seminars. Other formal coursework, if needed, will depend on the candidate's background, experience, and interests. Because these individuals will join our program as seasoned professionals it will be important not to spend inordinate amounts of time in a classroom. Coursework will only be necessary for those individuals who feel the need to "fill an academic gap". Much of the important exposure and training for trainees will occur through one-on-one interaction with mentors and their research groups.

Instruction focusing on cancer, cell/molecular biology, and molecular imaging will be delivered primarily through routinely seminars and journal clubs. Faculty from the following disciplines will contribute key components to the Career Development Program in the form of classes, seminars, or one on one instruction: Radiology/Molecular Imaging/Nuclear Medicine, Medicine/Oncology, Pediatrics/Neonatology, Microbiology & Immunology, Biological Sciences, Radiation Oncology, Bioengineering and Computational Sciences. In addition to the faculty who will be directly involved in the ICMIC@Stanford, there are other members in the MIPS program who are involved in their own funded cancer research projects. Tapping into the added MIPS faculty will allow the program to broaden its potential for further interaction and mentoring between faculty and trainees.

Student location could change as the student gains exposure to ICMIC faculty, becomes familiar with specialized resources, begins to focus in a specific area, and as the program expands. We have observed, however, through the Radiological Sciences Laboratory (RSL) Training Grant (Glover, Pelc and Glazer) that being able to maintain students in a centralized location has distinct advantages for the entire group. Co-location of students between two labs tends to foster an environment that promotes a dynamic arena for discussion and exchange of ideas. Such an environment turns into its own important resource providing information about all aspects of the program to all students. If students are simply doled out to specific labs across the medical center that arena for informal discussion, connection, and sense of collegiality could be lost. Students in the RSL group are affiliated with many different faculty throughout the medical center and the Lucas Center but, at the "end of the day", all return to the home base in the Lucas Center. At any time of the day a reasonably high density of students can be found in the Lucas Center, either working at their computers or discussing their research projects with one another or with any of the basic science mentors located in that facility. This is the place where all of the RSL postgraduate and graduate students have their desktop computers, personal desks/workspaces and Friday Happy Hours. As we expand the ICMIC@Stanford program we will work toward a solution that focuses on this very important detail.

The career development efforts of ICMIC@Stanford will be adaptable and capable of responding to change that occurs within the program, within Stanford, and those changes and advances in science occurring at a rapid pace in the world of cancer science at large. Programmatic change in response to these external stimuli will be implemented as needed through consultation and recommendation from the ICMIC@Stanford Executive Committee and Internal Advisory Board.

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