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Montefiore in the News

December 16, 2015

Program to Groom Exemplary Residents to be Surgeon Scientists

NEW YORK (December 16, 2015) – The ability to discover the inner workings of cancerous tumors is incumbent upon a scientist’s understanding of tumor pathophysiology and is essential for identifying novel targets for therapy. Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care (MECCC) and the NCI-designated Albert Einstein Cancer Center (AECC) today announced receipt of The Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Institutional Research Training Grant (T32), “Training of Surgeons for Studies of the Tumor Microenvironment,” which provides $1.18 million in funding over five years, to equip future surgeon-scientists with the basic research background and clinical experience needed to succeed in the rapidly evolving scientific field.

This new and highly competitive program is designed so that surgical residents in training spend two additional years in hands-on training as research fellows focused on the study of malignant tumors, the role of the immune system in tumor growth inhibition and the identification of emerging novel targets. The 15 faculty members guiding this training, both as educators and mentors, represent six clinical and four basic science departments. Participating research fellows are expected to submit at least two abstracts to national meetings and at least one original manuscript for peer review by the completion of their training.

“With this grant, a new generation of surgeons is being prepared to transfer the latest scientific knowledge to patients’ bedsides and back again to therapeutic research settings,” said Steven K. Libutti, M.D., F.A.C.S., principal investigator for the grant and director, MECCC, professor and vice chairman in the Department of Surgery at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, professor in the Department of Genetics at Einstein and associate director of clinical services at AECC.  “By bringing together an accomplished team of educators and mentors with a proven track record of research, we can successfully address an unmet need in the preparation of surgeons for a career in cancer research. Ultimately this will translate into better care and improved outcomes for all impacted by cancer.”

The trainees will participate in courses at Einstein that focus on the Responsible Conduct of Research, Quantitative Skills for Biomedical Research, and a Grant Writing Seminar.

“Scientific contributions made by investigator-surgeons throughout history demonstrate the powerful impact of training surgeons in specialties like oncology,” said Robert E. Michler, M.D., surgeon-in-chief, Montefiore; professor and chairman, Department of Surgery, professor and chairman, Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at Montefiore and Einstein; and co-director, Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care.  “This program has been conceived to give its graduates the skills and the curiosity to carry forward a legacy in the advancement of the science and art of medicine.  The Department of Surgery is proud to be able to make this training available to surgical residents through the receipt of this prestigious award.”

The NCI grant award number to Montefiore-Einstein is T32CA200561.