University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

Education and Training

For PhD Graduate Students

Graduate training programs in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine are organized along programmatic rather than departmental lines. As a consequence of this arrangement, graduate students conduct research under faculty mentors in virtually every one of the school's 30 departments.

UPCI brings together students and faculty through PhD programs in Cell Biology & Molecular Physiology, Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Molecular Genetics & Developmental Biology, Cellular and Molecular Pathology, Immunology, Molecular Pharmacology, and Integrative Molecular Biology. Training is available in a wide range of cancer-related research areas including: the basic control of gene expression, cell cycle regulation and DNA repair, identification of novel therapeutic targets, development and characterization of small molecule drug candidates, cancer epidemiology, and viral causes of human cancers, among many others.

Seminars and Journal Clubs

View the UPCI Calendar of Events for a schedule of upcoming cancer-related seminars and journal clubs, including (among others):

  • The weekly UPCI Basic and Translational Research Seminar Series is one of the largest and most well attended at the University of Pittsburgh. Seminars typically attract audiences of well over one hundred students, post-docs, faculty and clinicians, as well as attendees from outside UPCI or UPMC. Both internal and external speakers are invited to present to highlight key developments in basic and translational cancer research areas (coordinator: Gina Toy-Cutter).
  • Various departments within the University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences offer cancer-related seminars, such as the Pharmacology & Chemical Biology weekly seminar series (coordinator: Melanie McClain).
  • Many programs and centers such as the Immunology Program (coordinator: Rosemary Hoffman) and Women's Cancer Research Center (coordinator: Dr. Ryan Hartmaier) organize regular journal clubs in which papers with seminal importance for cancer research are discussed in a stimulating environment. Other journal clubs are organized around a specific topic of interest, such as the DNA Repair Journal Club, which focuses on current topics in DNA repair as it relates to human disease, DNA damage processing, genome stability, telomere biology, cancer and aging (coordinator: Dr. Robert Sobol).
  • The weekly Hematology/Oncology Writing Group meeting serves as a forum for all UPCI investigators to have draft manuscripts, abstracts, grants, and letters of intent reviewed by impartial investigators prior to submission (coordinator: Darren Gilmartin).

Penn-Pitt Partnership in Veterinary Medical Science (P3VMS) Summer Research Program

The P3VMS (Penn-Pitt Partnership in Veterinary Medical Science) Summer Research Program is designed to expose students in their first or second year of veterinary school to all phases of biomedical research, particularly those involving primate studies at the University of Pittsburgh. This includes the development of research ideas, the preparation of research proposals, the performance of biomedical research, and the presentation of research results in written and oral formats. Students in the program perform full time biomedical research during the months of June, July, and August, participate in weekly seminars, and present their work in oral, poster, and written presentations. The program provides a rich experience in biomedical research for students and simultaneously exposes them to a wide variety of research topics through seminars. Students also benefit from close association with University faculty who might become your advisor in an established PhD program. The University of Pittsburgh currently ranks 5th among universities in the nation with federally funded NIH grants.

Learn more about the P3VMS Summer Research Program.

Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Fellowship

The Pre-doctoral Fellowship in Clinical and Translational Research, offered by the Institute for Clinical Research Education (ICRE), provides a stipend and partial tuition support for 1 year of multidisciplinary clinical and translational research. The program is open to PhD students who have passed the qualifying exams in their field as well as MD/PhD students who have completed at least 2 years of medical school.

Learn more about the CTSI Fellowship Program.

Useful Links

The University of Pittsburgh Office of Academic Career Development for the Health Sciences offers a wealth of information for scientists at different points in their career paths, including graduate students.