MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Introduction and Mission

The goal of the Cancer Biology Program is for our basic and clinical faculty to teach graduate students, postdoctoral and clinical fellows concepts of cancer biology and its translation, enabling our trainees to become cancer biology scientists, who can conduct significant, cutting-edge, and hypothesis-driven basic, translational, and clinical research.

Program Organization

The administrative organization of the Cancer Biology Program is as follows:

Cancer Biology Program Director

Cancer Biology Program Co-Directors

Program Steering Committee

The Director and Co-Director(s) will be advised by a Steering Committee comprised of the Director, Co-Director(s), and a minimum of five other elected faculty members and students.  The faculty members of the Steering Committee will be elected by Program Faculty and serve staggered terms.  Steering committee membership will be for two-year terms.  There is no limit to the number of terms a member may serve.

The Steering Committee will meet at least semi-annually and there will be a Program-wide faculty meeting semi-annually at which the Steering Committee will present their report and Program business will be conducted with minutes recorded for public dissemination.  The Steering Committee will formulate policies related to the academic and administrative aspects of the Program and present them to the Program faculty for approval or modification.  The Steering Committee will empanel subcommittees to advise on Program matters.

The Steering Committee is responsible for the following, with input from the Program faculty:

Election Process of Program Leaders

To preserve the integrity and anonymity of the election process, the Graduate School will conduct the elections for Program Director, Co-Directors and Steering Committee Members. GSBS will solicit nominations, including self-nominations, from the Program faculty at-large.  Once the slate of candidates has been approved by the Deans’ Office, GSBS will conduct the election and report the results of the election to the Program community.

GSBS will also conduct the election of the two student members of the Steering Committee. GSBS will solicit volunteers from Program students.  To be eligible to serve, students must be in good academic standing, and it is recommended but not required that candidates have completed the candidacy exam.  Once the slate of volunteers has been approved by the Program Director and the Deans’ Office, GSBS will conduct the election and report the results to the Program community.

Faculty Program Membership

The Cancer Biology Program welcomes enthusiastic faculty who are dedicated to student education and have vigorous and well-funded research programs.  Program faculty must be members of the GSBS. Program faculty will include Regular Members, Associate Members and Distinguished Senior Lecturers as determined by the GSBS Membership Committee.

Cancer Biology Program faculty will: 

Applications for membership in the Cancer Biology Program are submitted to the Program Coordinator and are reviewed by the Cancer Biology Program Steering Committee.  In addition to the applicant’s CV and NIH biosketch, applications should include a letter stating the applicant’s reasons for requesting to join the Program. This letter should identify what the applicant expects to gain from being a Program faculty and what the applicant can contribute to the Program.  This letter should clearly outline 1) current projects of interest in lab as they pertain to cancer biology; 2) teaching experience; 3) mentoring experience.

Criteria for membership include, but are not limited to: 

Faculty who apply for Program membership but are denied may appeal the decision to the GSBS Membership Committee, who will make a recommendation to the Deans.

The Cancer Biology Program will notify GSBS Faculty Affairs of all new Program faculty members.

Review of Current Faculty Members

The Cancer Biology Program will review participation by individual faculty members once every five years in conjunction with the faculty member’s five-year review by the GSBS Membership Committee. 

The five-year review by the Program will be done on a schedule determined by the Program. Scoring metrics shall be used to determine membership.  The criteria will be based on a faculty member’s evidence of engagement in graduate education using the GSBS Membership Committee criteria as a guideline.  Faculty participation reports will be provided by GSBS but should be augmented by reports/statements of the Program-specific activities.

The Co-Directors may discuss ways to improve participation with any faculty members who are marginally involved with the Program’s activities.  The Program will send GSBS a list of faculty they suggest are inactive.  Inactive faculty will be notified that they are on probation for an additional year.  At the end of this time, if there is no increase in activity, the Program may terminate membership.  Faculty who are asked to leave the Program or who apply for Program membership in later years but are denied may appeal the decision to the GSBS Membership Committee, who will make a recommendation to the Deans.  Faculty determined to be disengaged are subject to not being reappointed to GSBS.  Being a Program faculty member should involve a significant investment of time and energy.  To avoid dilution of this effort, faculty members may affiliate with a maximum of two Programs.

The Program will notify GSBS Faculty Affairs of any terminated faculty members.