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News / 02.15.06

Summer 2006 undergraduate fellowship opportunities in cancer research

By Broad Institute Communications

The Integrative Cancer Biology Program (ICBP) at the Broad Institute and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) is one of nine multidisciplinary laboratories established by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to promote experimental and computational approaches to the study of cancer biology.

Each of the NCI ICBP labs is offering a unique opportunity for junior and senior undergraduates to engage in innovative cancer research through a nine-week summer research program beginning June 12, 2006.

Participating students will gain an understanding of the major questions currently under investigation in cancer research as well as novel approaches being used by ICBP researchers. In addition to mentored research projects, the program includes faculty lectures, seminars, group discussions, and related activities. Selected students will be invited to present their summer research in a special poster session at the national ICBP meeting in Washington, D.C., November 2006.

The undergraduate fellowship position at the Broad/DFCI site includes two summer projects in the laboratory of Todd Golub, MD, principal investigator of the Broad/DFCI ICBP. Golub is a core faculty member of the Broad Institute, director of Broad's Cancer program, and the Charles A. Dana investigator of human cancer genetics at DFCI.

Project 1 involves working with researchers to develop interfaces and software applications for a molecular signatures database (MSigDB) that is used in conjunction with a microarray technology called Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA). GSEA is currently used by researchers to test for the enrichment of gene sets in gene expression profiles corresponding to patients with diseases, including different types of cancer. This method was developed by Broad researchers and was recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. GSEA and MSigDB provide powerful, next-generation integrative tools to address a variety of forefront biomedical problems.

For Project 2, the student will work with researchers to develop and evaluate bead-based approaches to profiling kinase activity in cancer cell lines, validate results of experiments using Western blotting, and correlate the data with mass spectrometry. Kinases, a class of proteins, play a central role in the pathogenesis for most, if not all, cancers and represent excellent therapeutic targets. The goal of this project is to develop an approach to detect potentially oncogenic kinase activity in cancer cell lines and tumor tissues.

For complete information on the summer fellowship program, please visit the National Cancer Institute's web site.