University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

Academy Overview

The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) Academy provides rising high school seniors with eight weeks of research-focused didactic and experiential learning at seven locations. Scholars will work on their own research project in a dedicated research mentor's laboratory. At the end of the program, scholars will be asked to present their projects as an oral presentation and in a poster session. Participating scholars will also learn important skills to help prepare them for success in college and in their future careers in science and medicine.

Laboratory Sites

The Cancer Biology (CB) Site at the Hillman Cancer Center, located on the Shadyside campus, prepares scholars to further their studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects and to consider careers in cancer care and research. Through immersion in laboratories with highly-qualified faculty mentors, students will increase knowledge of careers in cancer care and research, as well as cancer biology and therapeutic strategies, and will develop improved research and communication skills.

The Cancer Environment, Bioengineering, Imaging and Genetics (CEBIG) Site, located on the Bridgeside campus, features laboratories selected from the Departments of Environmental and Occupational Health, Bioengineering, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Scientific mentors will collaborate to introduce scholars to interdisciplinary research that addresses emerging challenges to our understanding of the complex roles of the cellular and organismal environment (both internal and external), microbes, and genetics on cancer risk, including the onset and progression of cancer.

The Center for Integrated Oncology-Cologne/Bonn Academy (CIO) focuses largely on leukemias and lymphomas in Germany. Under the direction of Dr. Michael Hallek and Dr. Cornelia von Levetzow, five to six laboratories will each host one to two scholars for a four-week program that mirrors the curriculum design at the UPCI Academy. Please visit the CIO website for more information.

The Computer Science, Biology and Biomedical Informatics (CoSBBI) Site, hosted by the Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) and the Division of Pathology Informatics, provides a hands-on introduction to the application of software and computational techniques to clinical and research problems. Biomedical Informatics covers a wide range of topics including genomic and proteomic data mining, pharmacogenomics, image analysis, interface design, natural language processing, machine learning, and biosurveillance. CoSBBI students will participate in a crash-course in biomedical informatics, a computer programming boot camp, and intensive collaboration with a faculty mentor on an ongoing research project. Scholars will have the opportunity to submit their project abstracts for inclusion in a published paper describing the summer's activities, and to be considered for submission to the high school program at the annual meeting of the American Medical Informatics Association.

The Drug Discovery, Systems and Computational Biology (DiSCoBio) Site, located on the Oakland campus, provides training and teaching opportunities in both computational and experimental research approaches used to tackle cutting-edge questions in cancer biology, drug discovery, and related fields. Professional development and other enrichment activities complement the research and classroom training to help prepare our scholars for future careers in science and medicine. Scholars should expect an immersive, challenging, and fulfilling research and training experience in a fast-growing area of cutting-edge, biomedical research. Please visit DiSCoBio for more information.

The Tumor Immunology (TI) Site exposes scholars to immunological research and prepares them for career in cancer immunology. Scholars will work alongside a mentor to create a research project dealing with data analysis and experimental design. The goal of this immunology program is to explore the exciting biologic basis for novel therapies being developed that may be used in the immunotherapy of cancer.

The Women's Cancer Research Center (WCRC) Site at Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI), located on the Oakland campus, exposes scholars to research in women's health, with a strong emphasis on cancer. Scholars will participate in ongoing research projects in breast cancer using state-of-the-art technologies and approaches, such as novel methods in mass spectrometry, in mentors' laboratories. Scholars will also participate in class-based didactic courses and visit clinical and shared resource support components of the Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC and the MWRI. Please visit the Women's Cancer Research Center for more information.

Financial support for our program provided by:

Doris Duke Foundation — The UPCI Academy was instituted in partnership with the DDF-ACR to encourage students' interest in cancer careers, instill knowledge of cancer biology and clinical care, and develop their research and communication skills.
NCI-CURE — Since 2010, the UPCI Academy has been federally funded by the National Cancer Institute as a supplement to UPCI's P30 Support Grant.
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation — This continued partnership helps exceptionally promising scholars with modest family means reach their full potential through education.
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute — UPCI provides administrative oversight and financial support. UPMC — UPMC provides leadership and financial support for training, in partnership with CORO Pittsburgh.

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