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Career Development Program

The objective of the Vanderbilt GI SPORE Career Developmental Program (CDP) is to prepare individuals for successful careers in GI cancer research and care. Our track record of success is exemplary. For example, two prior GI SPORE career development recipients (designated Scholars) have leadership roles in this competitive renewal (Ethan Lee, Co-Investigator Project 1; Harvey Murff, Clinical PI Project 4). Scholars are selected via two established mechanisms: the Vanderbilt Physician Scientist Development (VPSD) Award and the GI SPORE Career Opportunity Award (COA). The VPSD track is designed for junior faculty with an MD or MD/PhD degree who are provided two years of support with 75% time for research and training. The COA track is more flexible and provides one to two years of support to MDs and/or PhDs at any level. It is designed to attract junior PhD investigators to enter GI cancer research and to encourage established investigators to transition to GI cancer research. Training in both tracks is tailored to the individual investigator, is overseen by the CDP Mentoring Panel and is supported by myriad institutional resources that assure our Scholars thrive. Scholars form an interdisciplinary mentoring committee, participate in regular work-in-progress presentations, receive formal evaluation each year, participate in a twice-monthly career development seminar series and are regularly exposed to case studies on responsible conduct of research. They have access to:

  • biostatistics consultation;
  • manuscript preparation workgroups;
  • technical editing of completed products;
  • studios with experts to vet scientific ideas, research designs and aims;
  • robust intramural pilot and feasibility funding; and
  • grant writing support, including grant workshops, a funded grant library and mock study sections.

Tools are in place to evaluate both mentees and mentors and to continuously enhance our program. Further oversight is provided by the Office of Clinical and Translational Scientist Development (CTSD) and the GI SPORE Administrative Core.

Combined, these efforts ensure that we carefully foster excellence in the next generation of GI researchers.