Research Training Program in Basic and Translational Oncology (T32CA183926)

Program Director:  Pran K. Datta, PhD
Associate Director:  Randall Davis, MD
Administrative Assistant:  Janice McCord
Accounting Assistant:  Melanie McCann


The multidisciplinary UAB “Research Training Program in Basic and Translational Oncology” is focused on training highly motivated pre-doctoral students as well as PhD and MD graduates in the fields of translational and fundamental oncology. Major strengths of the program include the broad expertise and research interests of its faculty, encompassing tumor immunology, cancer genetics, mouse models of cancers, statistical genetics, next-generation sequencing of various cancers, preclinical models of novel targeted therapies, as well as phase 1 and phase 2 clinical studies. In the first year two postdoctoral trainees will be selected from the hematology/oncology fellowship program and among a large pool of postdoctoral fellows conducting oncology research at UAB. Their training will last up to three years. The training program will grow into three postdoctoral fellows and one pre-doctoral student by year three of the five-year training program. The postdoctoral trainees with a MD, PhD, or equivalent terminal degree will be selected on the basis of prior academic and research performance, letters of recommendations, and personal interviews. This will include highly qualified students from the Medical Scientist Training Program. Within the Cancer Center a large number of well-funded investigators with a focus on cancer research have been hired and strengthen an already very strong core of oncology researchers. Because a large number of the faculty members is involved in the care of patients with a diagnosis of cancer in addition to their research programs, the program offers an optimal interface between basic and applied oncology. This training program provides a platform for the development of skilled and successful scientists for the biomedical research enterprise.

Major Goals

The UAB training program in Basic and Translational Oncology is structured to closely adhere to the most recent NCI guidelines for institutional (T32) training grants, which emphasizes the following:

1)  Provide multidisciplinary training and exposure of trainees to collaborative research.

2)  Develop new investigators with the necessary competencies and breadth of expertise needed for the future of biomedical research.

3)  Ensure that the trainees receive adequate mentorship and that mentorship is taught and evaluated.

4)  Recruit and retain such investigators in the scientific workforce and ensure adequate representation of the nation’s diversity in that workforce.

5)  Provide a continued flow of qualified physician-scientists able to translate findings freely between the basic and clinical spheres.

Current trainees:

  1. Anegelina Londono-Joshi, PhD, Cancer Therapeutics Theme, Mentor/s: Drs. Donald Buchsbaum and Andres Forero-Torres
  2. Dennis Otali, PhD, Cancer Prevention Theme, Mentor: Dr. William Grizzle
  3. Reena Beggs, BS, Cancer Biology/Signal Transduction Theme, Mentor: Dr. Eddy Yang
  4. Victor Lin, MD, PhD, Cancer Biology/Signal Transduction Theme, Mentor: Lalita Samant