The Collaborative Graduate Program in Cancer Research is jointly offered by the Departments of Community Health & Epidemiology, Pathology & Molecular Medicine, Psychology and Biomedical and Molecular Sciences (graduate programs in Anatomy & Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology and Pharmacology & Toxicology). Provides students with centralized access to the broad range of cancer research opportunities available to them within the Faculty of Health Sciences and at Queen's University as a whole.
Strengths in graduate education in Cancer Research of Queen's span many research areas from structural and tumour biology and genetics, through epidemiology, to outcomes research and health policy development. The Collaborative Program provides an intellectual focus on cancer and connects researchers and graduate students with different perspectives on this area. The program encourages interactions of researchers and students with common interests in cancer, regardless of departmental home, and at the same time facilitates productive interaction between individuals involved in different research areas, all focused on different aspects of cancer research.
Application Deadline: As per your home department
Areas of cancer research interest span multiple Departments. Students are encouraged to contact potential supervisors within their specific area of interest to discuss enrolment in the collaborative program. Research areas include:
Molecular Epidemiology-focuses on the contribution of potential genetic and environmental risk factors, identified at the molecular and biochemical level, to the etiology, distribution, and prevention of disease. This approach advances understanding of cancer etiology by incorporating laboratory methods to document the molecular dose, and preclinical effects of carcinogens, as well as factors that increase individual susceptibility to carcinogens. Trainees will conduct research developing or employing biomarkers of genetic susceptibility, carcinogenic exposure and mechanisms, and intermediate endpoints.
Cancer Genetics, Gene Regulation and Molecular Diagnostics -focuses on the genetic implications of cancer diagnosis, prevention and treatment, and on the implementation of novel genetic and molecular strategies for improving these processes. Training addresses the application of post-genomic/proteomic era technologies and research methodology in such areas as transcriptional regulation, genotype/phenotype based prediction of disease course, genetic association studies and biomarker development. Areas of relevant research will include: gene regulation, pharmacogenomic application of genetic tools to diagnosis, drug design, treatment and prediction of outcomes; psychosocial impact of population screening; and long term implications of presymptomatic genetic testing.
Drug Development & Experimental Therapeutics- focuses on the development and characterization of novel drugs and therapeutic modalities through to initial application of new drugs in cancer patients. Relevant topic areas include small molecule design and evaluation, development and validation of cell-based and preclinical models, preclinical drug testing, design and interpretation of phase I and II trials, with an emphasis on regulatory, and ethical requirements.
Cellular Regulation and Signal Transduction in Cancer Cells-involves three focused topic areas in cancer biology: tumor progression and metastasis, drug resistance and metabolism, and regulation of cell growth, proliferation and differentiation. Specific interests include cytoplasmic and nuclear signalling cascades, gene expression and function in malignant cells, stromal-tumor interactions, and metastasis. Training takes advantage of state-of-the-art approaches including genomic and proteomic resources, structure/function analysis, microarray-based gene expression profiling, and transgenic and xenograft animal models.
Cancer Care & Service Delivery- focuses on integrating clinical and health services research with a view to optimizing patient outcomes. Training in this area addresses a number of themes including: access to timely diagnosis and treatment, improving doctor-patient communication, making appropriate treatment decisions, correct treatment delivery, and adequate follow up care and patient preferences and education. Training includes clinical epidemiologic, psychology, health services, and health policy research methods, depending on the specific research project.
Outcomes Research and Health Policy Development- focuses on the measurement, evaluation, and improvement of patient outcomes in delivery of all types of cancer care, across the cancer care continuum. Training opportunities in this area provide quantitative information on the development and implementation of medical management policies, investigate geographic variations in the management and outcome of cancer and explore the structure of the cancer system and its influence on the effectiveness and efficiency of treatment programs. Thesis research in particular in the areas of cancer morbidity and mortality outcomes, in the evaluation of patient symptoms and quality of life, patient experience of and satisfaction with health care, and the social consequences of cancer care will be available.
Drug Metabolism and Disposition-focuses on drug metabolism, gene expression, availability and regulation of drug metabolizing enzymes. Research projects employ in vitro and in vivo systems to explore the metabolism and disposition of endogenous and exogenous compounds, including pharmacologic agents and environmental chemicals.
Molecular Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis-focuses on molecular aspects of the mechanisms involved in chemical, physical, and viral (biological) carcinogenesis. Training opportunities in this area include studies of genetic and epigenetic pathways regulating cell proliferation, differentiation, and death, carcinogenesis studies in transgenic mice and research on tumor viruses. The effects of environmental and endogenous factors, such as reactive species on tumour growth and DNA damage and the implications of these events with respect to oncogene activation, DNA amplification, gene transposition, and chromosome translocations are research foci.
Graduates of the Collaborative Program in Cancer Research can expect to find a wealth of employment opportunities in the area of cancer research, or related fields including basic or applied research or other employment in academic centres, industry or health research institutions, government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, private industry and many other career paths.
Students must first be admitted to a graduate program in a participating department and must meet the specific requirements of that home program. Students are encouraged to contact potential supervisors within their area of interest in any of the departments to discuss enrolment in the collaborative program. Once students have identified supervisors, they will be registered in their home graduate program and department and may then apply for admission to the collaborative program.
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