Graduate & Post-Doctoral Hero

Graduate, Post-Doctoral, & Medical Student Training & Education Opportunities

CRTEC supports the training and education of graduate, post-doctoral, and medical students by:

  1. Assisting with and creating cancer-relevant training programs.
  2. Organizing and facilitating the Cancer Symposium Seminars and Colloquiums
  3. Disseminating relevant grant and training opportunities.
  4. Providing supplemental funding opportunities for training courses and innovation awards.

Each year new graduate program students embark on a journey to earn a PhD, MD-PhD, or post-doctoral degree through the Graduate Program in Cancer Biology. This interdepartmental program includes training in basic biomedical sciences with opportunities to apply clinical and translational research to studies on human cancer.

Research Programs

Basic research scientists at the CU Cancer Center strive to understand better the fundamental biological activity that leads to cancer. They work closely with clinical researchers to translate laboratory findings into drugs, therapies and techniques that can be applied to patients. Clinical researchers then enroll patients in one of the more than 250 available clinical trials to test these new treatments in cancer research studies. The results of this collaboration are promising new techniques to diagnose, treat and prevent cancer.

Investigators at the CU Cancer Center focus on interdisciplinary research conducted in four main programs: 1) Cancer Prevention and Control, 2) Developmental Therapeutics, 3) Molecular and Cellular Oncology, and 4) Tumor Host Interactions.

Some of the education and training programs that are available to graduate and post-doctoral students include the Colorado Academic Instruction & Research Nexus (CAIRN) Program, the Oncology Summer Internship (OSI), the Lung Head & Neck T32, and the Training in Cancer Biology T32.

OSI: Oncology Summer Internship

The CU-Cancer Center OSI is an ASCO-OSI pilot program that provides a paid clinical experience in oncology for rising second-year medical students attending the CU School of Medicine who are from populations that are under-represented in medicine.

Students in this program spend the summer between their first and second year of medical school attending lectures on oncology topics, shadowing oncology professionals, and interacting with patients in clinic and hospital settings.

Faculty Sponsors: Tejas Patil, MD, Wells Messersmith, MD, and John Tentler, PhD

Contact John Tentler, PhD, for more information.

LaCOTA: LaCamera Oncology Travel Award

The LaCamera Family generously provided a gift to the University of Colorado Cancer Center to provide oncology-related education opportunities for medical students at CU Anschutz Medical School.

The LaCamera Oncology Travel Award (LaCOTA), provides CU Anschutz Medical School students up to $1,500 to attend oncology-related educational trainings and conferences to further their understanding of cancer prevention and treatment.


  • International travel will not able be funded by LaCOTA at this time (travel awards are for travel within the continental U.S., Hawaii, or the U.S. territories only).
  • Individuals can only receive one travel award per academic year.

For more information, please contact the CRTEC office at

CAIRN: Colorado Academic Instruction & Research Nexus Program

The CAIRN post-doc program is an IRACDA pilot with the goal of providing postdoctoral fellows from under-represented groups training to develop undergraduate teaching skills and portfolios.

CAIRN trainees participate in workshops and mentored teaching experiences through collaboration with partner campuses, the University of Colorado - Denver and Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Faculty Sponsors: Aaron Johnson, PhD and Bruce Mandt, PhD

Contact Bruce Mandt, PhD, for more information.

Lung, Head and Neck T32

T32CA174648, “Training in Translational Research of Lung, Head and Neck Cancer Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and head and neck cancer (HNC) is a high morbidity cancer type. Both cancers have a poor prognosis, share some common etiological factors (e.g., tobacco consumption) and therapeutic interventions.

The Lung, Head and Neck (LHN) cancer training program (LHNTP) is a multi-disciplinary translational program with the mission to train the next generation of researchers and physician-scientists in LHN cancers. This T32 program funds postdoctoral fellows (PhD and MD trainees) and graduate students who are passionate about their career goals as independent investigators or physician-scientists in LHN cancer research.

The LHNTP incorporates innovative and multi-disciplinary clinical and research expertise into our training through unique resources and expertise to significantly strengthen training for the next generation of basic- and physician-scientists dedicated to LHN cancer research.

We have designed didactic coursework for all trainees and clinical coursework for non-MD trainees to enhance the trainee’s scientific background and the translational aspect of the program in addition to laboratory training.


  • Xiao-Jing, MD, PhD (Director)
  • Paul Bunn, MD (Co-Director)

Learn more

Training in Cancer Biology T32

The National Cancer Institute-funded Training Program in Cancer Biology (TPCB) trains Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows in independent, mentored research focusing on all aspects of Cancer Biology. Mentors study a large breadth of tumors including cancers of the blood, lung, breast, prostate, salivary, ovarian, bladder, pediatric, colon, etc.

Areas of research include:

  • Basic mechanisms of oncogenesis.
  • Cell death and survival pathways.
  • Tumor evolution.
  • Tumor immunology.
  • Steroid signaling pathways.
  • Genomics and genetics.
  • Prognosis and targeted therapeutics.

The TPCB is affiliated with the University of Colorado Cancer Center, the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in the state. This is a research-intensive training program.

Trainees work with the mentor of their choice on a project at the cutting edge of contemporary cancer research. The CU Cancer Center has numerous state-of-the-art core resources available to all trainees in the program including functional genomics, imaging, sequencing, flow cytometry, biostatistics, etc.

Trainees in the program also participate in non-research training activities that are designed to build specific skills and facilitate professional development. These include attending the annual TPCB post-doc research and career development symposium, a T32-specific journal club, career development workshops, a hypothesis development (grant writing) seminar, and a mentored clinical exposure experience. Trainees have opportunities to attend national meetings and conferences.

Principal Investigators

  • Mary Reyland, PhD
  • Scott Cramer, PhD

Learn more

CIETP: Immuno Therapy & Experimental Therapeutics Program T32

The Cancer Immunotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics Program (CIETP) aims to train future oncology clinical providers and researchers in the most advanced and promising forms of immune-directed and cell therapy. The vision for this T32 is to create a training program and environment that provides essential skills to clinical trainees while simultaneously providing them with the opportunity to contribute to developing the next generation of cancer therapies.

Challenges in the field of cancer immunotherapy include understanding a multitude of new agents under development, new mechanisms of action, toxicity profiles that consist of immune/autoimmune side effects, and the lack of patient selection or predictive markers for these therapies. The opportunity is to invent Developmental Therapeutics (DT) strategies that maximally exploit the power of immune-based therapy.

Learn more

HS-BReM: High School Biotechnology Research Mentoring Program

The HS-BReM program is a partnership the CRTEC office has developed with the Rock Canyon High School Biotechnology Research program where graduate students and postdoctoral trainees mentor a team of high school student researchers conducting cancer research in their high school biotechnology laboratory. CU Anschutz trainees support and mentor their student teams throughout the year as they develop and conduct their research projects.

Prior to starting their research, student teams design their project and write a full research proposal which they present and defend for approval. Next, they learn the skills and techniques needed to conduct their research. Following completion of their research projects, they present their research at the RCHS Biotechnology Research Symposium and write a full journal article which they publish in the RCHS Journal of Biotechnology.

Their CU Anschutz research mentors join them on this journey of discovery of the joys of scientific research and help them develop a passion and interest in pursuing a future career in biomedical research.

If you are interested in becoming a HS-BReM future scientist mentor, please contact us at

This Year's HS-BReM Scholars

Katy, Emma and Erin

Mentor: Dr. Emily Meyer, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow and Senior Instructor, Department of Biomedical Informatics

Project: The Effects of Hesperetin on Cell Viability of Caco-2 Cells

Website: Flavinoid Fangirls

Bently, Elsa, and Hansika

Mentor: Jared Williams, Cancer Biology Graduate Student

Project: Effect of Deferoxamine Mesylate Salt on Growth Patterns and Cell Viability of EO771 Mammary Gland Carcinoma Associated with C57BL/6 Mice

Website: Tumor Titans Blog

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