EducationGraduate Programs

Molecular Oncology and Immunology Training Program

The Graduate Training Program in Molecular Oncology and Immunology (MOI) is one of the largest pre- and postdoctoral training programs at the NYU School of Medicine and is supported by a longstanding training grant from the National Cancer Institute. It is currently in its 36th year of continued funding by the NIH.

MOI is an integrated program that focuses on immunology and molecular oncology, broadly defined, with a major emphasis on the intersection of these disciplines. Training and research in this program encompasses the broad parameters of the modern understanding of the molecular mechanisms of eukaryotic cell growth control and the regulation of the development and function of the immune system, with a particular focus on the interface of these disciplines and how they individually and mutually affect human malignant disease. MOI has three major areas of emphasis: immunology (both basic and applied), mammalian cancer biology, and the interface between the two.

Cross-fertilization of these disciplines allows for development of entirely new approaches to study both proto-oncogenes and immunologically relevant cells and tissues in their normal state as well as in neoplastic situations, fostering the development of translational research in cancer. While the program requires trainees to become proficient in the basics of both immunology and molecular oncology, the program has been divided into two tracks—the Cancer Biology Track and the Tumor Immunology Track—and all student research projects are expected to have translational relevance.

MOI students receive a significant exposure to cancer research in a clinical setting; the students have the opportunity for in-depth research on a cancer related project; the trainees become proficient in critical evaluation of the current literature, analysis of experimental data, and presentation of the results of research; and all trainees are educated in the responsible conduct of research. Coursework provides students with a solid foundation in all aspects of modern cancer biology, the immune system, and the interrelationship between the two disciplines, with an emphasis on molecular, genetic, cell biological, and pathophysiological aspects of cancer and immunity.

Thirty-nine faculty members from the Departments of Pathology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Medicine, Pediatrics, Urology, Radiation Oncology, Dermatology, Radiology and Microbiology participate as primary mentors in this program, and they are supplemented with a committed set of clinician-educators as Associate Faculty. The program is under the aegis of the Sackler Institute for Basic Medical Sciences and the Perlmutter Cancer Center and makes full use of the extensive basic and clinical cancer research infrastructure of New York University School of Medicine to intimately involve trainees in both the practical and the intellectual rigors of cutting-edge cancer research. Research topics of interest to Program faculty range from fundamental questions in immunology (the mechanistic basis of immunological tolerance; T cell receptor signaling; cellular dynamics of the germinal center) to contemporary topics in molecular oncology (mechanisms of action of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes; cell cycle regulation; carcinogenesis, angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis) to immunotherapy of cancer and vaccine development for diverse diseases such as HIV and malaria.

We have much to offer you and we welcome your interest in the Molecular Oncology and Immunology Training Program. With our diverse and distinguished faculty, including a collaborative mix of basic scientists, translational researchers, and clinicians, our location in a vital academic medical center, and our thriving intellectual environment, our training programs are ideally situated to bring out your best as you pursue your career in biomedical research.

Note: In the most recent (2007) index of faculty scholarly productivity for 375 US research universities compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education, NYU School of Medicine ranked 2nd for Oncology and Cancer Biology and was ranked 7th in Immunology. The MOI program was among the six Sackler graduate programs ranked in the top 20 of their respective areas by the 2010 National Research Council Report.