K-12 Program

The Paul Calabresi Clinical Oncology Training Program provides additional didactic training and mentored clinical research for young investigators. Faculty members who are within four years of completion of training in oncology have protected time to pursue additional training to ensure their success as translational researchers in Oncology.

The success of the program is evidence by the many trainees who have become independent researchers with peer-reviewed funding. The Program has been continually funded since 1994.

City of Hope is a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center with strong research programs that provide ample opportunity for mentored research in:
Program Components:
Year One: Intensive courses in clinical investigation (See Didactic Curriculum Overview); Participation in Journal Clubs and/or Research Seminars; Laboratory rotations and initiate multi-disciplinary clinical research training.

Years Two through Four: For a minimum of 23 hours per week, scholars will be engaged in a supervised translational research program under the full-time guidance of a senior clinical investigator with the assistance of a laboratory mentor. In addition the the supervised translational research, scholars will present their ongoing clinical research efforts to peers, mentor and the Advisory Committee and provide a written progress report every six months.

Program Management - Clinical Oncology Career Research Development Program Organizational Chart

Joanne Mortimer, M.D., (Principal Investigator, Program Director)
Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research

Dr. Joanne Mortimer has a long history of commitment to scholarship and the mentoring of trainees and faculty. Following completion of her Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology Fellowship training at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, she was recruited to the University of Washington. Seven years later, she moved to Washington University as the Medical Director of the Barnard Cancer Center. During her 13 years in St. Louis, Dr. Mortimer conducted clinical research trials in breast cancer and served as co-Director of the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program. She received numerous awards for teaching and clinical excellence. In 2007, Dr. Mortimer was recruited to City of Hope from the University of California, San Diego, where she was the Deputy Director for Clinical Affairs at the Moores Cancer Center. Currently, Dr. Mortimer is the Director of the Women’s Cancers Program and the Associate Director for Affiliates in the Cancer Center. She is also the Vice Chair of Medical Oncology and the Principal Investigator for the “Paul Calabresi Career Development Award for Clinical Oncology (K12)”.

Susan Kane, Ph.D., (Advisory Committee Member)
Professor, Cancer Biology
Member, Developmental Cancer Therapeutics Program, Comprehensive Cancer Center

A Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology, studying drug resistance. Her laboratory isolated trastuzumab-resistant tumor cells and discovered that they exhibit constitutive activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway, which is normally down-regulated by trastuzumab in HER2-dependent cells. Further studies have identified components of the protein kinase A (PKA) and protein phophatase-1 (PP-1) pathways as dysregulated in trastuzumab-resistant cells, consistent with a role for PP-1 as a negative regulator of Akt. These results suggest that resistance to trastuzumab in breast cancer can be induced by activated Akt signaling as a consequence of PKA up-regulation and protein phosphatase-1 dysregulation in HER2-positive breast cancers. PKA and PP-1 dysregulation might also be involved in drug resistance in non-HER2 positive breast cancer. Current studies are focused on understanding the mechanism of PKA/PP-1 dysregulatioin and the possible identification of new biomarkers or molecular targets for therapeutic intervention. Dr. Kane has a strong commitment to education at all levels. She has mentored numerous pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and clinical oncology fellows.

Ravi Bhatia, M.D., (Advisory Committee Member)
Director, Stem Cell and Leukemia Research

Dr. Bhatia received his medical training from he All India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi. He received Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant training from the University of Minnesota, where he also did a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Catherine Verfaillie and Dr. Philip McGlave. He joined City of Hope in 1996. Dr. Bhatia's research interests are in studying the regulation of normal and malignant hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, therapeutic targeting of malignant stem cells, and hematopoietic stem cel therapeutics.

Smita Bhatia, M.D., M.P.H., (Advisory Committee Member/Mentor) Professor and Ruth Ziegler Chair in the Department of Population Sciences and Associate Director of Population Research of the Cancer Center

Dr. Bhatia has developed a Program that utilizes the large and diverse patient population base at City of Hope to create a Center for Cancer Survivorship that serves as an invaluable resource for research, observational studies, and interventional trials in cancer survivorship, quality of life, genetic risk assessment, and molecular epidemiology. She has worked closely with the disease site leaders within the Cancer Center to establish comprehensive, multidisciplinary clinics for survivors of childhood malignancies as well as breast and prostate cancers. Dr. Bhatia is the Principal Investigator of several extramurally funded multi-institutional trials examining the health-related outcomes in cancer survivors and has been continuously funded since establishing her own independent research program in 1996. She serves on several peer-review panels, including the NCI Epidemiology of Cancer (EPIC) Study Section and the Lance Armstrong Foundation Study Section, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the latter. She has served as a reviewer for leading scientific journals and is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Cancer. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society Scholar Award in 2001 and the American Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology Group Frank A. Oski Lectureship Award. In 2006, she was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2006. Since 2009, she has served as the Associate Chair of the Children's Oncology Group. Dr. Bhatia is recognized as an outstanding educator and mentor.

Linda Malkas, Ph.D., (Advisory Committee Member)
Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope.

Dr. Malkas is also the Associate Director for Basic Science of the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her laboratory has focused on elucidating the mechanisms underlying cancer cell DNA damage accumulation, which has also been correlated with disease progression. Her laboratory was the first to successfully isolate an intact multiprotein DNA synthesis complex that is both stable and fully functional (termed the DNA synthesome) from a variety of mammalian cell lines and tissues. Subsequent work demonstrated that the synthesome of malignant breast epithelial cells has a significantly decreased DNA synthesis fidelity (exhibiting a more error-prone synthesis process) than the complex of non-malignant breast epithelial cells. She is currently working on the development of DNA-damaging cancer chemotherapeutic drugs based on the novel target identified in her lab. Dr. Malkas has mentored numerous graduate and post-graduate students.

Susan Neuhausen, Ph.D., (Advisory Committee Member)
Morris & Horowitz Families Professor in Cancer Etiology and Outcomes Research, Population Sciences

A prominent molecular epidemiologist and Co-Leader of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program in the Cancer Center. Dr. Neuhausen’s research focuses on genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that predispose to the development of diseases such as breast and ovarian cancers. Using genetics to understand the etiology of this disease and develop more accurate models for risk estimation is essential to ultimately tailor prevention strategies and therapies. Based on extensive in vivo and in vitro studies, one important pathway for breast cancer pathogenesis may be the IGF signaling pathway, which regulates both cellular proliferation and apoptosis. One of Dr. Neuhausen’s research studies is focused on the association of variants in genes involved in insulin-like growth factor signaling and risk of breast cancer in a cohort of women carrying pathogenic BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations and in women not carrying known mutations. Another study investigates the role of DNA methylation as a modifier of risk in carriers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. She also works with Dr. Bernstein on the California Teachers Registry and with Dr. Weitzel on studies utilizing the Hereditary Cancer Research Registry.

Yun Yen, M.D., Ph.D., (Advisory Committee Member/Mentor)
Chair, Molecular Pharmacology

An accomplished physician-scientist who has a long history of peer-reviewed funding and has been a leader in experimental therapeutics research at City of Hope. Dr. Yen is the Dr. & Mrs. Allen Y. Chao Chair in Developmental Cancer Therapeutics in the Cancer Center and oversees the Translational Research laboratory for integration of correlative laboratory studies into clinical trials. As the Chair of the Molecular Pharmacology Department, Dr. Yen supervises pharmacology research on new molecular targets as well as pre-clinical evaluations. Dr. Yen’s long-term research interest is in defining the molecular biology of ribonucleotide reductase, especially in terms of drug targeting and drug resistance mechanisms. He has served as both a laboratory and clinical mentor for a number of Oncology Fellows and Junior Faculty. He will serve as a faculty mentor on this grant.

Jonathan Espenschied, (Advisory Committee Member)
Director of Graduate Medical Education and Clinical Training

As the curriculum director, Mr. Espenschied oversees the didactic curriculum and works closely with the Principal Investigators, Advisory Committee, trainees and mentors to ensure a hihg quality experience and effective reseaech training. Mr. Espenschied has extensive experience in building efficient, effective graduate level training and expertise in current methodologies of clinical trial design, responsible conduct, and statistical analysis. Mr. Espenschied currently leads the GME and Clinical Training programs which allows him to keep apprised of all of our trainees', assisting them as they develop and advance through their programs.

For more information on the K-12 research program, contact:

Kim Chau
Program Coordinator

Past Scholars
Jana Portnow, M.D.,assistant chief of Neuro-oncology, joined the faculty in 2002. Her research interests include the pharmacokinetics of femozolomide and signal transduction inhibitors in brain tumors.

Warren Chow, M.D.,director of the Sarcoma Research Program, joined the faculty in 1994. His research involves assessment in preclinical models of sarcoma tissue growth and evolution.