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Cancer Biology Ph.D. Program

Students interested in joining the Cancer Biology Ph.D. Program may apply to the Basic Biomedical Sciences umbrella program.

Basic Biomedical Sciences Umbrella Program; First-year students complete a core curriculum with: Core Course, 2+ Laboratory Rotations; Responsible Conduct of Research Training in Integrity, Ethics, and Excellence. Second-year students take a qualifying exam to enter the Ph.D. program: Collaborative and Cross-Disciplinary

About the Cancer Biology Program

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The Cancer Biology Graduate Program provides training for students interested in pursuing a research career in investigating the molecules, mechanisms, and pathways involved in the development of cancer. Research by faculty members and students is laying the foundation for tomorrow’s clinical advances.

Cross-disciplinary collaboration, a hallmark of UT Southwestern Medical Center’s approach to research, is essential in cancer biology research, as cancer involves many different biological systems.

The themes of our Cancer Biology faculty are related to four scientific programs in the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center:

In addition, the center has emerging programs in DNA Repair and Radiation Oncology and Cancer Prevention and Control.

Curriculum Overview

The formal coursework for Ph.D. students is flexible, with a wide range of choices depending on your interests. In general, courses are taken as necessary to provide sufficient background in the biological sciences so students develop breadth before specializing in a particular area of cancer research.

Because cancer research encompasses a wide variety of approaches to the biology, biochemistry, and genetics of various diseases that make up cancer, the curriculum requirements are designed to provide students with the best opportunity for specialization within this multidisciplinary field.

Divya Bezwada

“I am fortunate to work with a great team of surgeons, nurses, and physicians on this project, and I am thankful for the unique clinical aspects and patient interaction opportunities of my doctoral work.”

Divya Bezwada

Cancer Biology Graduate Program

Mauricio Antonio Marquez Palencia

“In order to become a good scientist, you need to put all your effort and passion to achieve it. However, working alone is not enough to succeed. In this type of career, you always need guidance and support from others to fully accomplish your goals and be successful.”

Mauricio Antonio Marquez Palencia

Cancer Biology Graduate Program

McKenzie Patrick

“The collaborative environment encourages trained scientists to share their knowledge and expertise with others. This creates an incredibly supportive environment, which I feel fosters ambition and success.”

McKenzie Patrick

Cancer Biology Graduate School


Meet the Chair

Rolf A. Brekken, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research
Graduate School: Ph.D., UT Southwestern Medical Center
Postdoctoral Training: The Hope Heart Institute, Seattle

“Cancer Biology graduate students work in an array of different disciplines and have the opportunity to interact with world class faculty and utilize outstanding resources to drive impactful projects focused on the development, treatment, or detection of cancer.” Read Dr. Brekken’s full message.

Rolf Brekken, Ph.D.