Cancer Biology Training Program

Training Objectives

The goal of the CBTP is to train PhD and MD/PhD scientists who will advance research on the causes, diagnosis, progression and treatment of experimental and human cancer. The CBTP provides a PhD training program that is focused on cancer research and includes the many facets of cancer biology, including cancer pathology, cancer genetics, cell signaling, control of cell growth, tumor apoptosis, cancer pharmacology, cancer therapeutics, stem cell biology, cancer imaging, tumor immunology and others. The field of cancer biology includes basic scientific research and its applications to clinical settings. The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center provides a rich confluence of basic science and clinical activities and resources, enriching the training of PhD students as they engage in both basic science and translational research in the field of cancer. To accomplish these training goals, the CBTP has been developed as an interdisciplinary track within the Pathology PhD Program and is jointly sponsored by the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Department of Pathology.

Overview of the CBTP

Training for the PhD degree in the CBTP includes course work, research rotations, formal and informal seminars, a Thesis Proposal/Qualifying Examination, and research experience resulting in scholarly publications and a PhD dissertation. The CBTP includes the core curriculum of the Pathology Graduate Program (see Section II: Pathology PhD Program) and a well-developed curriculum focused on cancer biology. Core components of the Pathology PhD curriculum include the BSTP curriculum coursework in cell and molecular biology (CBIO 453 and CBIO 455), a minimum of three research rotations and two Pathology core courses (PATH 510 Basic Pathophysiologic Mechanisms, PATH 520 Basic Cancer Biology & Interface with Clinical Oncology). PATH 510 provides a solid foundation in mechanisms of disease, including topics related to cancer. PATH 520 provides a detailed survey of basic cancer biology. CBTP students take at least two CBTP Track Electives (see Handbook Section X: Courses) and other elective courses to meet the PhD requirements (Section II: Pathology PhD Program). Elective courses should be selected in consideration of the research emphasis of the individual student and may include a wide range of courses offered by the Department of Pathology or other basic science graduate departments. A student's course selections must be approved by his/her Thesis Mentor and must follow the program guidelines. A Planned Program of Study Form (see Forms section) must be completed to insure adequate planning for coursework and other curriculum components. This plan must be reviewed and approved by the CBTP Track Thesis Committee Representative (Clive Hamlin), and then submitted to the Pathology Graduate Program Coordinator (Christine Kehoe). The CBTP Track Thesis Committee Representative will be an ex officio member of all Thesis Committees for CBTP students and will insure consistency in advising and adherence to guidelines.

Training Faculty

CBTP trainers are indicated in the list of Pathology Graduate Program Faculty Trainers (Section III: Faculty Trainers). All CBTP trainers are members of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. Their primary appointments may be in the Department of Pathology or other departments at Case or Case-affiliated institutions, including University Hospitals of Case Medical Center(UHCMC), the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF), Metro Health Medical Center (MHMC) and the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center (VAMC).

Research Facilities

Trainers and research laboratories are located in multiple departments at Case School of Medicine, UHCMC (including the Ireland Cancer Center), CCF (including the Lerner Research Institute and Taussig Cancer Center), MHMC (including the Rammelkamp Center for Education and Research) and the VAMC. At Case, the Wolstein Research Building houses offices and research facilities of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Department of Pathology. The Wolstein Building also houses the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, part of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. Core Facilities: The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center supports 15 core facilities that provide expensive and/or high-end technology instrumentation and resources to Cancer Center investigators. The presence of the core facilities within the Cancer Center provides a gateway for training students in sophisticated technologies that are essential for any modern program of cancer research. The directors and staff of these facilities have cutting-edge expertise and an ongoing commitment to advance their fields. This provides students with opportunities to learn from experts and use cutting-edge technology and equipment in their research.

Sample Curriculum


Seminars and Journal Clubs

CBTP students take the PATH 511 and PATH 512 Experimental Pathology Seminar courses. These courses include two components, the Pathology Graduate Student Seminar Series, where students report on research progress, and research seminars. For the research seminar component, CBTP students are required to attend some of the Cancer Center Seminar Series (sign-in required) to fulfill their Pathology Seminar requirement. Students must attend the seminar components of PATH 511 and PATH 512 even in semesters when they are not registered for a seminar course. Students should also attend other relevant seminars. The students will participate in a monthly Cancer Trainee Seminar Series, where each student will give a presentation once a year on their research. Finally, students present their dissertation research in a Pathology Department Thesis Seminar.

Administrative Structure

The CBTP is sponsored by the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Department of Pathology. As a track within the Pathology Graduate Program, the CBTP is represented on the Pathology Graduate Program Committee by two representatives (one from the Department of Pathology, one representing the Cancer Center). The Pathology Graduate Program Committee handles issues common to all tracks (student admissions, mentor approval, final stages of academic review and other issues related to the general structure of the program). The CBTP Steering Committee is charged with all activities specific to the CBTP (curriculum development, including courses, seminar and journal clubs, advising of prospective students and students in the CBTP, recruiting efforts, faculty development and other issues). The two committees work together in many areas with joint efforts coordinated by the CBTP Chair, who serves on the Pathology Graduate Program Committee.

CBTP Steering Committee

Member Role
Mark Jackson Chair
Stanton L. Gerson Director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
David Danielpour Track Advisor and Curriculum Director
Clark Distelhorst Training Grant Liaison
Clifford Harding Track Development, MSTP Representative
Clive Hamlin Track Thesis Committee Representative