Cancer Biology Program


The Cancer Biology Graduate Program pro­vides multidisciplinary training for the student interested in pursuing a research career in any aspect of cancer biology, including mam­malian biology, but also including the study of genes and processes in other eukaryotic organ­isms. The Program offers doctoral students the most up-to-date knowledge and research training in molecular and cellular aspects of cancer biology. The broad range of interests and exper­tise of faculty members enables students to con­centrate specifically in one of several areas, such as apoptosis, senescence, cancer genetics, cell cycle, chromosome damage/repair, drug resist­ance, metastatic progression, signal transduction, and tumor biology, among others.

A characteristic of the scientific environment at UT Southwestern is the close proximity of basic science and Clinical Departments. The extensive collaborations of the Program faculty with faculty of Clinical Departments provide additional oppor­tunities for students to contribute significantly to research with direct patient and medical rele­vance. Faculty members of the Program are also well recognized in their fields and maintain a lively communication with colleagues around the world. Numerous seminars by outstanding visiting scientists are offered and are a vital component of the educational experience.

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Special Requirements for Admission

Students wishing to join the Cancer Biology Graduate Program must be enrolled in the Division of Basic Science and be in good standing academically. It is not necessary for a student within a Program to choose a mentor who is a faculty member of the Program, provided that the student has sound reasons for this choice. Students generally will apply for admis­sion to the Program after completion of the first-year curriculum, but may participate in the Program informally at any time after successful admission into the Division of Basic Science.

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The Cancer Biology Graduate Program pro­vides advanced courses, seminars, and super­vised research based upon successful completion of the first-year Core Curriculum and the research rotations that are required by the Division of Basic Science. Each student entering the Program must successfully complete two advanced courses that provide a core of knowledge important to any cancer biologist: Molecular Mechanisms in Cancer Biology; and Stem Cells, Cancer, and Cancer Stem Cells. In addition, students are required to successfully complete a course de­signed to prepare for the qualifying examination and 4.5 credit hours of course work in subjects offered by any of the Division’s graduate pro­grams. 

Each semester, students participate in a semi­nar program that offers the critical review and presentation of current research literature. In the spring of the second year, students who have successfully completed their advanced course work prepare and orally defend a research pro­posal before an examining committee of the Program faculty. Successful completion of this examination is a prerequisite for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

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Advanced Courses

Course requirements and descriptions are listed on the Course Descriptions page.

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Student Works-In-Progress, Journal Club, and Grand Rounds

Works-In-Progress meets weekly except when the monthly Cancer Center Grand Rounds are sched­uled. Works-In-Progress offers a format in which students are encouraged to think critically about their research and how it relates to a broader area of biology. Journal Club is student-run with the objective of familiarizing students with the lecture subject of an upcoming visiting speaker for the Cancer Center Grand Rounds. All students within the Cancer Biology Graduate Program are expected to participate in the weekly WIP/Journal Club and to present their ongoing research once a year. Students are required to attend WIP, Journal Club, and Cancer Center Grand Rounds each year.

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