The CRI is actively involved in teaching of graduate students. 138 graduate students are currently training in the laboratories of CRI affiliates. A major focus of this teaching is the NCI-funded Training Program in Cancer Biology. The training program organizes graduate courses in cancer biology, and it supports trainees by providing tuition/fee and research stipends. The course curriculum for this training program constitutes one the tracks for the joint graduate program in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry; the cancer biology track. Administrative support for all of the Cancer Biology Training Program courses is provided by the CRI. The courses include:
- MB&B 218, “Clinical Cancer for Basic Scientists”. This class features weekly lectures from UCI cancer clinicians on various aspects of clinical cancer. Students are provided with the opportunity of shadowing a cancer clinician during rounds at UCI Medical Center.
- MB&B 217A and 217B, “Cancer Biology”. This is a two-quarter series, offered in alternate years, that covers the basic principles of cancer biology. It is taught by didactic lectures, as well as student-led discussions based on research papers. Topics for 217A are 1) Oncogenes/proto-oncogenes and signal transduction, 2) Tumor suppressor genes and cell cycle control, and 3) Cancer virology. Topics for 217B vary somewhat according to recent developments in cancer research. In 2007 (the last time it was offered), the topics for 217B included 1) Cancer genetics, 2) Apoptosis and 3) Chromatin structure and epigenetics.
- Cancer Biology Journal Club. This is a weekly journal club in which graduate students, postdoctorals and other cancer researchers meet to discuss recently published papers in the field of cancer. The club is offered for academic credit through a graduate-level course number. CRI faculty are in charge of organizing the journal club.
When students have completed these courses, they have completed training for a concentration in cancer biology. While the concentration is not an official UCI designation that appears on their transcripts, a letter is provided to them stating this fact, which they can list on their CVs.
Currently 87 postdoctoral scholars are working in laboratories of the CRI affiliates. They benefit from research enrichments facilitated by the CRI (e.g. seminars, symposia, access to shared resources). In addition, the NCI Cancer Biology Training Grant provides stipends for some postdoctoral fellows.
The CRI also participates in undergraduate education in cancer. MB&B 25 “Biology of Cancer” is a student-run class where clinicians and basic researchers lecture on various aspects of cancer. This is a course, pitched at the level of non-majors.