Cancer Research Training and Education Coordination (CRTEC)


Mission: Serve and improve the care of cancer patients by fostering the careers of cancer care providers, new investigators, aspiring young scientists in cancer research, population science, and clinical care.

Vision: Educating and training the next generation of innovative leaders in translational, basic, clinical, and population science-related cancer research will conquer cancer.

CU Cancer Center supports multidisciplinary education and training in the context of CU Cancer Center’s research and clinical mission through the development of novel programs, active participation in the training of mentees across a broad spectrum of educational backgrounds including middle and high school students, undergraduates, post baccalaureates, graduate students, medical students, residents, and fellows, the mentoring of junior faculty (referred to as mentored members), and by sponsoring various cancer-focused educational and training activities. We place a major emphasis on the integration of training and education activities with cutting-edge basic, population, and clinical cancer research undertakings. Furthermore, in close collaboration with the CU Cancer Center Community Engagement and Outreach Office, we put a unique focus on including and recruiting underrepresented populations to participate in education and training activities.

Our Goals

Provide comprehensive cancer research education, training, and career enhancement activities across the continuum of trainees.

The UCCC fosters innovation and excellence in interdisciplinary cancer education and training. We have implemented a variety of novel initiatives and also partner with established programs on campus that provide complementary cancer-related education and training activities for trainees across a continuum of educational backgrounds starting from junior high school through junior faculty. To ensure the success of our trainees, especially junior faculty, we routinely monitor, refine and individualize each of their training curricula as deemed necessary. We work closely with each of the ten cancer-related T32s on campus to offer a unique and expansive education, training, and career-enriching experience.

Coordinate cancer center-wide activities for mentoring the next generation of basic, clinical, and population science researchers.

We leverage the rich learning atmosphere, resources, and opportunities available within the greater University of Colorado’s 4-campus community and our members. The university’s system-wide opportunities complement the UCCC activities and develop novel education programs that specifically suit the academic and training needs of our trainees. Such activities include monthly grant and manuscript writing workshops, innovation grants and travel awards for graduate students, postdoctoral and junior faculty, an annual retreat dedicated to addressing our trainee's most pressing training and education needs. In collaboration with the UCCC’s Clinical Research Office, we introduce a variety of training activities for MDs and PhDs on the topic of initiating and maintaining Phase I trials.

Nurture the pipeline and expand the diversity of cancer researchers while integrating basic and clinical research.

The CRTEC embraces the importance of and supports initiatives to increase the active participation of underrepresented minority populations in education and training activities. Activities under this goal offer opportunities for trainees from different academic backgrounds and career stages to interact with one another. These undertakings are concentrated on providing a strong foundation for encouraging trainees at all levels to commit to a career in cancer research.

Training Opportunities

K-12 Student Training Opportunities

CU Science Discovery is a science education outreach program at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Division of Continuing Education. Through hands-on summer camps and after-school classes, homeschool classes, teacher workshops, school programs, and community outreach events, Science Discovery impacts approximately 30,000 students, teachers, and community members throughout Colorado each year.

The Cancer Center is devoted to training the next generation of researchers and physicians, starting from Middle School. Scientists at the Anschutz Medical Campus will pair with science educators at the Aurora STEM School in 2020 for an introduction to cancer research.

Learn About Cancer Day is a day-long seminar and tour of research facilities at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The event is aimed at high school students from metropolitan Denver who are enrolled in Advanced Placements or International Baccalaureate biology or chemistry classes. Learn About Cancer Day is offered to 120 students per event and is held each year in February.

The goal of Learn About Cancer Day is to ignite students' interest in biomedical fields, specifically cancer-related research, and to increase community awareness of the University of Colorado Cancer Center capabilities as a research and therapeutic center.

Participants are exposed to short lectures on multiple aspects of cancer such as biological mechanisms, prevention, epidemiology, methods of diagnosis and staging, including profiling, bioinformatics, and types of therapy.

Intercalated with the lectures, small groups of students tour scheduled research labs to speak one-on-one to technicians, graduate student, or faculty members for one hour. Students get an opportunity to ask questions of young breast cancer survivors during a Q&A session led by a breast cancer doctor and a genetic counselor.

Past topics:

  • Why do so many people get cancer?
  • The dangers of tobacco use and vaping
  • Are tanning beds safe?
  • How do we treat cancer?

Undergraduate Training Opportunities

Through the University of Colorado Cancer Center's Cancer Research Experience for Undergraduates (CREU), every summer 30 college undergraduate students are given the opportunity to spend ten weeks in our laboratories at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

The goal of the program is to engage scientific curiosity in the next generation of scientists, challenging qualified college undergraduates to consider a cancer-related career in the future.

Graduate Student Training Opportunities

The graduate program in Cancer Biology is an interdepartmental program that includes training in basic biomedical sciences with opportunities to apply clinical and translational research to studies on human cancer.

New Post-Doctoral Training Program

The Academic Science Education and Research Training (ASERT) IRACDA at the University of New Mexico UNM) is seeking competitive applicants from prospective and recent PhD graduates (within first year) looking for a postdoctoral experience that embraces diversity and supports individualized career development. The program uses a cohort model of training that offers outstanding dual training in teaching and research to support a trajectory to an academic career. Successful applicants are eligible for up to 3 years of support to complete research projects (75% time) in biology, bioengineering or biomedical sciences and teach at affiliated minority serving institutions (25% time). The ASERT Program provides opportunities to train with over 50 research and education mentors that represent a diverse range of interests and expertise.

Postdoctoral Training Activities

Postdoctoral fellows generally receive training and mentorship in Cancer Center Members’ laboratories where they develop mentorship plans. The CRTEC office provides supplemental funding opportunities for travel and innovation awards.

Junior Faculty (Mentored Members) Training Opportunities

The CRTEC office provides quarterly meetings that focus on the greatest needs of junior faculty who are referred to as Mentored Members. An annual retreat provides important networking activities for mentors and mentees.

New Skillsoft Course for investigators performing clinic research 

The CU: New Investigator Clinical Research Orientation online course was developed for University of Colorado Cancer Center members who plan to become involved in clinical research as a principal investigator or sub-investigator, either on a new clinical trial or an existing protocol.  This course does not replace other regulatory trainings or onboarding activities required by the University of Colorado or divisions but gives new investigators an overview of the research infrastructure of the cancer center and provides practical information to supplement the additional trainings in the onboarding process. 

You can access the course in Skillsoft as follows:

  1. Log on to your campus portal
  2. Select the Skillsoft tile. Skillsoft will open in a separate window.
  3. Select Library.
  4. Under CU Custom Content, select your campus folder. 
  5. Select the specific Category folder you need (SOM).
  6. Locate the title of the course and click LAUNCH.

Additional Training Opportunities

CU Cancer Center is focused on the education and training of its basic and clinical scientists. Several training activities are offered by the clinical education office:

CRTEC Leadership

Eduardo Davila, PhD

Eduardo Davila, PhD
Associate Director

Cancer Research Training and Education Coordination (CRTEC)

Phoebe Cao

Adela Cota-Gomez
Assistant Director

Cancer Research Training and Education Coordination (CRTEC)


Jill Penafiel
Education and Program Manager

Cancer Research Training and Education Coordination (CRTEC)

Shawndra Fordham

Shawndra Fordham
Program Developer

Cancer Research Training and Education Coordination (CRTEC)