MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Cancer Biology Program Spring Virtual Symposium

Please join us for the Spring Virtual Symposium that will be held on Friday, March 26, 2021.  The Symposium will include sessions such as a Student Oral Competition, Faculty Science Talks, Thoughts of a Scientist Podcast, Elevator Pitch Competition, Keynote Address, The Great Cancer Biology Science Debate and a game of Fun Faculty Facts.

Symposium Flyer

If you are interested in attending, and require accommodations to access the event on Zoom please contact the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity at 713-500-CALL or before Tuesday March 23rd, so the office can make appropriate arrangements in advance of the meeting.

Keynote Address: Drew Mark Pardoll, MD, PhD
Dissecting immunotherapy resistance at the single cell level
Director, Johns Hopkins, Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

The deadline for registration is Friday, February 26th


Friday, March 26
9:00 – 9:15 am          Welcome from Program Directors
9:15 – 9:50 am          Faculty Science Talks - Dr. Yejing Ge, Dr. Jason Huse & Dr. Florencia McAllister 
9:50 – 10:50 pm       Student Oral Talk Competitions 
10:50 – 11:00 am      Break
11:00 – 12:00 pm      Student Oral Talk Competitions 
12:00 – 1:00 pm        Lunch Break
1:00 – 1:50 pm          Funtivity – from Cradle to Brain, and everything in between!
1:50 – 2:00 pm          Break
2:00 – 3:00 pm          Keynote Address: Drew Pardoll, MD, PhD
                                       Director – Johns Hopkins – Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
                                      “Dissecting immunotherapy resistance at the single cell level”
3:00 – 3:30 pm          Coffee Networking Chat with Keynote Dr. Drew Pardoll
3:30 – 4:15 pm          Thoughts of a Scientist Podcast Session – Dr. Ron DePinho & Dr. Raghu Kalluri
4:15 – 4:25 pm          Break
4:25 – 4:35 pm          Elevator Pitch Competition
4:35 – 5:00 pm          The Great Cancer Biology Science Debate
5:00 - 5:30 pm           Faculty Science Talks - Dr. Jian Hu & Dr. Shabnam Shalapour
5:30 - 6:00 pm           Awards & Closing Ceremony

Abstracts for the Oral Competition:

The deadline for submitting your abstract is Tuesday, February 23rd at noon

Pre-candidacy - 1st Place $300, 2nd Place $150
Post-candidacy - 1st Place $300, 2nd Place $150
People’s Choice - $200

Abstract Instructions:

All 2nd year Cancer Biology Program Students and above are expected to submit an abstract to be reviewed by a panel of faculty for selection for the oral talk competition, even if it is research at preliminary stages. First year students can also submit, however it is not required. Four pre-candidacy and four post-candidacy students will be selected to present at the symposium.

Abstract Length: 250 words (not including the title and the author affiliation)
Abstract File Name: lastname_firstname_2021Virtual.docx

Formatting Instructions: You can find a sample abstract here.
MS Word Only US Letter
Margins: 1.50" on all four sides
Paper Size: US Letter
Font: Arial 11 point for everything
Left Justify: this means jagged right margin.
Abstract Title: All in bold and first word in uppercase only
Presenting Author: Underline presenting author's name.
Line Spacing: Insert line space between Title, Authors, Affiliation and first line of abstract. The rest of the abstract should be single spaced per the sample abstract.
Paragraph Indents: Indent first line of each paragraph in the abstract body (1/2").

Elevator Pitch Competition:
All students are invited to participate in the Elevator Pitch Competition. The deadline for submitting your elevator pitch is Friday, March 12.  You will present your pitch live at the Symposium via Zoom.

First Place Prize will be $400

Make a video of yourself explaining your science in 2 minutes. It’s a great way to practice your science communication skills and get recognized in the process. We encourage applicants to inject their personality into the videos and use easy-to-understand language (avoid jargon), so the video is accessible to a broad audience. Have fun telling people what you do, why it’s important, and why you love it!  Your pitch can be about any project that you have done, or are currently doing. 

Participants will submit a 2 minute video via the abstract submission form by providing a link to their video stored on an accessible website.

The Great Cancer Biology Science Debate:
This year we are introducing a new event to our Retreat program “The Great Cancer Biology Science Debate”

Debate Rules:

Each team must consist of 1 student and 1 faculty member (does not have to be your own advisor)
Two debate topics are pre-determined by the committee and are as follows:
     Bioinformatics is overrated.
     Immunotherapy is the future of cancer treatment and care
Each team will be allowed to speak for 3 minutes, (you’ll be muted after 3 minutes), and 2 minutes will be allocated to each team for rebuttal.
A maximum of one slide will be allowed if the teams prefer to present their arguments via pictures/graphs.
Winners will be decided by the audience poll.
Winner of each topic will receive $230 

The debates will be judged on the presentation, and not whether one agrees with being “for” or “against” the said topic
Judging will be limited to how creatively and effectively the presenters debate, how they do the rebuttal, what evidence they use to support their claim (with stats, graphs, etc.)