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Wistar, USciences Launch Cancer Biology Graduate Program

The Wistar Institute has joined with University of the Sciences (USciences) in offering a regionally unique Ph.D. graduate degree program in cancer biology.

This foray into higher education marks a new kind of “first” for The Wistar Institute. The program fills a regional gap in specific training in cancer biology; it is the only program in the Philadelphia region that offers a Ph.D. in cancer biology.

“The Wistar Institute offers a rich training ground for cancer research. Our faculty has a strong cancer focus, and yet there is a great diversity of cancer themes within their research,” said Dario C. Altieri, M.D., director of The Wistar Institute Cancer Center and chief scientific officer of The Wistar Institute. “Students in this program will have an educational experience of unparalleled depth and breadth. Also, program graduates will be poised to enrich Philadelphia’s strong life sciences base.”

The cancer biology graduate degree program—jointly administered by The Wistar Institute and USciences—trains individuals for an academic or industrial career in cancer biology and drug development. The program provides a broad-based graduate education that expands existing opportunities for cancer training in the greater Philadelphia area.

“Government projections show the need for medical scientists will increase by 36 percent between now and 2020,” said Russell J. DiGate, Ph.D., USciences provost. “I can think of no better training for graduate students than in the cancer biology program where they will be learning and working side by side with USciences and Wistar faculty. Whether it is in the classroom or in the lab, students will get the tools they need through a solid grounding in the fundamentals and a broad exposure to many aspects of research and drug discovery.”

This integrated cancer biology program provides a solid core curriculum, complemented by advanced study in the translational research approaches that fuel the drug discovery and development process. The program includes hands-on training at The Wistar Institute’s Molecular Screening Facility, part of the Wistar-USciences Center for Chemical Biology and Translational Medicine, where researchers test the potential of small molecules as therapeutic drug candidates. Rounded out with lectures on intellectual property and commercialization, the curriculum equips students to work as academic cancer researchers as well as life sciences industry innovators.

Successful candidates will be granted a Ph.D. in cancer biology from University of the Sciences. The program is seeking candidates for the fall 2012 term. Students may learn more about the program and apply online at www.wistar.org/gradprogram or www.gradschool.usciences.edu/cancer-biology/cancer-biology-program-overview.