The National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Biology hosted 19 students from across the United States for an Undergraduate Research Conference on July 11 – 12, 2017 at NIH’s campus. The students are completing cancer research internships at grantee institutions who are members of the Division’s Cancer Systems Biology Consortium (CSBC) and Physical Sciences in Oncology Network (PS-ON). The interns are supported directly by the Division’s CSBC/PS-ON Undergraduate Summer Research Program, which provides a stipend to the students to conduct research in the interdisciplinary fields of cancer systems biology or physical oncology.
While the students spent most the summer in a lab conducting research on topics such as tumor heterogeneity, tumor-immune interactions, evolution of phenotypes in late-stage cancer, and cell migration’s role in cancer invasion and metastasis, the in-person meeting on NIH’s campus gave the students the opportunity to meet and teach one another about the diverse set of projects and disciplines that are studied by CSBC and PS-ON investigators. The conference also included a collaborative activity based upon the Sage Bionetworks-DREAM Breast Cancer Prognosis Challenge, a tour of the NIH Clinical Center, and the opportunity to meet and learn from the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates, an incredible group of breast cancer survivors whose lives are a testament to the importance of cancer research. The students had a chance to meet scientists associated with both the CSBC and the PSON and to present their work via a Poster Session to fellow interns, researchers, and NCI staff.
Now in its tenth year, the CSBC/PS-ON Summer Undergraduate Research Program (formerly the ICBP Summer Undergraduate Research Program) has supported over 110 undergraduate students to explore experimental and computational research in interdisciplinary fields. The training program serves as a nationwide resource for the benefit of the entire cancer biology research community by encouraging future cancer researchers to pursue collaborative, multi-disciplinary approaches to complex cancer problems.