The Department of Clinical Cancer Genetics marked its fifth year of innovative research leadership training with the matriculation of two new graduates from its Cancer Genetics Career Development Program (CGCDP).
Funded through a National Institutes of Health R25T grant, the CGCDP is the first in the nation exclusively dedicated to developing program leaders and collaborators in clinical cancer genetics research training for physicians, nurses and genetic counselors. To date, the program has trained six postdoctoral and six predoctoral trainees. Fellowship trainees receive mentoring while undertaking research projects and graduate coursework in clinical cancer genetics, oncology, biostatistics, epidemiology and research methodology.
Phuong Mai, M.D., who will complete the program in August, came from the University of Texas at San Antonio to pursue her research interest in cancer genetics and epidemiology. For the past two years, she has worked on a study at the University of Southern California examining colorectal cancer risk factors in a large cohort of women. Additionally, she has conducted research at City of Hope to evaluate the practice of prophylactic surgery in women who may be at increased breast cancer risk.
“I have a strong interest in cancer genetics and epidemiology and this program at City of Hope provided me with an opportunity to further my studies in the field,” said Mai. “The research I have done and mentoring that I have received from everyone involved in the fellowship program have definitely prepared me for the next step in my career.”
Kory Jasperson, G.C., will complete the program at the end of June. He came from the genetic counseling graduate program at Cal State University Northridge. He had interned at City of Hope as part of his graduate school rotation and jumped at the opportunity to further his studies through the fellowship program. As a genetic counseling fellow, Jasperson is involved in the process of evaluating patients and families for hereditary forms of cancer. His primary research focuses on the evaluation of hereditary colon cancer syndromes. “The Department of Clinical Cancer Genetics is made up of amazingly knowledgeable and dedicated people who are more than willing to share what they know with fellows in training,” said Jasperson.
Mai and Jasperson also achieved some notable honors. Mai’s abstract submission to the American Society of Preventive Oncology annual meeting received the top ranking of all abstracts submitted. Jasperson’s study assessing the accuracy of different hereditary colorectal cancer predictive models is being published in the Journal of Genetic Counseling. After completion of her CGCDP training, Mai will join the Clinical Genetics Branch, Division of Cancer Genetics and Epidemiology at the National Cancer Institute to further her research. Jasperson will join the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.