PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT: This proposal represents a continuation of a training program at UC San
Diego in the Contemporary approaches in cancer cell signaling and communication, requesting funding
for Years 34-38. All faculty mentors are members of the Moores UCSD Cancer Center, with appointments in
Chemistry & Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Biological Sciences, or the School of Medicine. Our program also
incorporates faculty from the Salk Institute. Training faculty include 5 members of the National Academy of
Sciences, 3 Fellows of the AACR, and 1 Lasker recipient. Faculty mentors are organized into three broad
research areas: 1) Biochemistry of tumor cell signaling; 2) Cell plasticity and tumor microenvironment; 3)
Engineering approaches to cell signaling and communication. Training involves a monthly Training Grant
Seminar with two presentations by trainees, formal courses, journal clubs, trainee/faculty luncheons, and
events to promote program cohesion. A Supervisory Committee provides strong program oversight in trainee
selection, evaluation, and programmatic decisions, continuing unchanged from the past 5 years. With this
submission, program leadership envisions continued vibrancy for our program with the inclusion as the lead
PD/PI for Years 34-38 of Prof. Jing Yang, a mid-career expert in tumor metastasis, who will strengthen our
leadership team with her commitment to training and mentoring in cancer biology. Overall, this program
remains highly dynamic, synergistic, and interdisciplinary.
TRAINEES: Current and past trainees have excellent records of research accomplishments. We have
requested 6 postdoctoral positions and 4 predoctoral positions for Years 34-38, unchanged from present. The
requested slots continue to be justified by ongoing growth at UC San Diego, by the ability of the training faculty
to recruit outstanding trainees to their labs, and by the interactive nature of the training labs that collectively
provide a superb training environment. Predoctoral trainees are drawn from graduate students accepted into
Chemistry & Biochemistry, Bioengineering, or Biological Sciences, and are appointed typically for 2 years.
Postdoctoral trainees are selected from postdoctoral candidates applying for positions in the laboratories of the
training faculty, and appointed for a maximum of 2 years. Trainees accepted into our program are expected to
have strong backgrounds in chemistry, biochemistry, bioengineering, and molecular and cell biology. All
trainees are expected to publish first-author publications and encouraged to apply for independent fellowships.
PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS AND CHANGES: This renewal highlights several changes, including: eight exciting
new faculty additions, strengthened interactions with the Moores UCSD Cancer Center; greater faculty/trainee
interactions to promote program cohesion; strong support from five members of our External Advisory Board;
compelling letters of support from members of our supervisory committee; and strong endorsements and
commitments of support from key administrative leaders.