Pediatric Oncology Education (POE) Program



The Pediatric Oncology Education program at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is funded by the National Institutes of Health / National Cancer Institute. The POE program offers a unique opportunity for students preparing for careers in the biomedical sciences, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, psychology, or public health to gain biomedical and oncology research experience. The POE program provides a short-term training experience (internship) in either laboratory research or clinical research.

A primary goal of the program is to encourage students to pursue a career in cancer research, either as a laboratory-based scientist or a physician scientist. Thus, qualified students with an interest in cancer research are particularly encouraged to apply.

Departments or divisions include anesthesiology (medical students only), cell & molecular biology, chemical biology & therapeutics, developmental neurobiology, diagnostic imaging (medical students and physics or biomedical engineering majors only), epidemiology and cancer control (medical students), oncology (a few clinical positions for medical students and a few lab positions for others), immunology, infectious diseases, neuro-oncology (one medical student only), nursing research (nursing majors only), pathology, pharmaceutical sciences, psychology (psychology majors only), radiation oncology (medical students and physics or biomedical engineering majors only), and structural biology.

Students participating in the Pediatric Oncology Education program will receive training in a superb academic environment created by the interaction of committed basic scientists, research-oriented physicians, and postdoctoral fellows. Depending on their special interests, trainees will spend their rotations in a clinical research or a laboratory research setting. Trainees will be matched with a faculty mentor who shares their research interests and will participate in the mentor's ongoing research projects. Trainees are required to attend a core lecture series ("Lunch & Learn") designed specifically for them, as well as other weekly St. Jude conferences, including leukemia-lymphoma conference and tumor board.

Fifty-one US citizen students from 39 schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia participated in POE 2014. Their average undergraduate GPA was 3.80 on a 4.0 scale. They included 17 medical students, 30 undergraduates (including May 2014 graduates), two graduate students, one PharmD student, and one first-year post-baccalaureate student. Ten 2014 participants were prior class members returning for an additional POE rotation.

Please note that the POE program is a PRE doctoral program. Anyone who holds a doctoral degree (e.g. MD, PhD, PharmD, etc.) is NOT eligible for the POE program and should NOT apply. MDs who have completed residency training in Pediatrics may be eligible for our Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Training Program. Qualified non-US physicians may be eligible to visit St Jude through our International Outreach Program.

Duration of Training

The minimum time requirements are: 9 weeks at St. Jude for students currently in medical school, 10 weeks for returning POE students, and 11 weeks for all others. The student's daily schedule will depend on the research area in which they are working, but the student is expected to work full-time. There are no specific start and end dates for the program, but students should plan to start on a Monday (Tuesday, if Monday is Memorial Day) in mid-May to early June and finish on a Friday in August. Acceptable start dates for 2015 program participants will be May 11, May 18, May 26, or June 1, 2015. If you could not start on one of these dates (May 11, May 18, May 26, or June 1, 2015), you are not eligible for our program.

Requirements

Trainees MUST be a United States citizen, non-citizen national, or possess a visa permitting permanent residence in the United States. Most POE students are highly qualified undergraduate or graduate students preparing for careers in medicine or biomedical sciences. A few are attending or have been accepted into graduate, medical, pharmacy, or nursing school. POE applicants MUST have an undergraduate GPA of at least a 3.40/4.00 in math and science (biology, chemistry, physics) AND at least a 3.40 overall. Medical, pharmacy, and graduate students must also meet the undergraduate GPA requirements. Applicants must have research experience and be in at least their sophomore of college year when they apply. At least one letter of recommendation must be from a research mentor. Medical student applicants must be attending a US medical school. There are NO EXCEPTIONS to these requirements.

Stipend and Housing

Participants will receive a $4,000 stipend for their summer appointment. Group housing close to our campus will be available at no cost for POE students coming from outside the Memphis metropolitan area to participate in the program. We do not provide paid family housing.

Laboratory Research Training

Trainees engaged in laboratory research work in one of the many interesting and important areas of St. Jude oncology research. Some examples of ongoing basic science projects are studies on hematopoietic growth factors and receptor signaling; cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, and the relationship between gene mutations and drug resistance. Cutting edge research is being conducted in infectious, autoimmune, and cancer immunology. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacology research involves studies of both current and new drugs and their effects on childhood cancers. Trainees gain valuable experience in basic molecular laboratory research techniques, including cloning, cell culture, sample preparation and performing assays. They may do computer research data processing and analysis under their mentor's guidance.

Clinical Research Training

Medical students will work in clinical research with physicians and staff in areas such as chart review, record screening and examination, data collection and entry. Medical students may, under faculty supervision, attend clinics and observe procedures. Trainees may perform computer research data processing and analysis under their mentor's guidance. Medical students or undergraduates with sufficient computer skills may work on radiological sciences projects such as MR image analysis or radiation therapy treatment planning. Nursing students will work on nursing research projects.

Oral and Written Reports

At the end of appointment, all participants are required to make a PowerPoint presentation on their research project. They are also required to submit a written report on their research project in the style of a journal in which their mentor publishes.

Deadline

The deadline for receipt of ALL POE 2015 application materials will be February 1, 2015. Credentials emailed (applicant's name in the subject line, please) by the university or recommender to Dr. Gronemeyer (suzanne.gronemeyer@stjude.org) no later than February 1, 2015, will be accepted. Letters sent as a PDF attachment to email from the recommender are best. If available from the university, electronic transcripts are preferred. Application and submission of credentials by mid-late December is highly recommended, since we make some early placements. Those applying after January 1 run a high risk of not having all their credentials submitted by the deadline.

Members of under-represented ethnic minority groups and women are especially encouraged to apply, since a major long-term goal of our program is to increase the diversity of persons engaged in oncology research and practice. Under-represented minority sophomores and juniors will be considered for appointment as CURE (Comprehensive Umbrella of Research Experiences) Scholars, in addition to their appointment as a POE student.

Learn more about St. Jude and our research programs

Applicants should visit our web site to identify departments in which they would like to work. Our latest scientific report is available online under related topics. See the research button at the top for the faculty list and the list of academic departments. The Pediatric Oncology Education Program application should be filled out and submitted online. Hard copy applications will NOT be accepted.

For further information contact:
Suzanne Gronemeyer, PhD, Director,
Pediatric Oncology Education Program
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Place, Mail Stop 304
Memphis, TN 38105-3678
suzanne.gronemeyer@stjude.org