Program History

The CBSTP program was created by The Center for Cancer Research (CCR), NCI in 2003 with a vision to fulfill an unmet need for scientists capable of providing a comparative biomedical perspective. Through this perspective, biology of disease is viewed from phenotypes created in many different affected hosts. Veterinary medical training provides the sought after viewpoint to enable translation of findings from animal models to human disease.

The program has enrolled a total of 25 of the nation’s top veterinarians seeking training in pathology and biomedical research. Our scholars have come from many different colleges of veterinary medicine throughout the nation, including: Colorado State University, Cornell University, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Michigan State University, North Carolina State University, Tuskegee University, University of Georgia, University of Minnesota, University of Pennsylvania, and Virginia Tech. The trainees’ come with different research and training experiences adding a valuable diversity to the program.

Dr. R. Mark Simpson is the program’s founding director. The program operates through his laboratory within the Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics, a part of the Center for Cancer Research Intramural Research Program within the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a constituent of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. Collaborating NIH institutes include The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Graduate education and diagnostic training is provided through partnership universities as part of the NIH Graduate Partnership Program (GPP). Initial university partners included Michigan State University, East Lansing; North Carolina State University, Raleigh; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne; and the University of Maryland, College Park. The program added Purdue University, West Lafayette, in 2007.

The program’s success is attested to by the significant contributions trainees have made to their areas of research during their dissertation research and their continued work as they progress in their careers. Trainees have pioneered research by creating mouse models of human prostate cancer metastasis, creating zebrafish models of ovarian cancer, identifying mechanisms of disease in glioblastoma, acute leukemia, osteosarcoma, and colon cancer, and discovering regulators of adipogenesis. We currently have trainees exploring the pathogenesis of pandemic influenza and working with animal models of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, plasma cell tumors, and metastatic breast cancer.

This program is realizing its goal of training investigators capable of integrating molecular mechanisms of disease within the complexity of whole living biosystems that are being designed and validated as predictive models of human disease.