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 POE program is to encourage students to pursue a career in cancer research. Thus, we are particularly interested in highly qualified students with a serious career interest in cancer research, either as a clinical scientist or laboratory-based research scientist. The St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences offers PhD degrees, with training in cutting-edge scientific fields complemented by unique mentoring in the St. Jude clinical experience. Highly motivated POE students will have the opportunity to be considered for admission to the St. Jude Graduate School upon completion of their undergraduate degree.
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 attend a daily Lunch & Learn series designed specifically for them, as well as other clinical and basic research conferences.
Departments or divisions include:
- Anesthesiology (medical students only)
- Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (medical students only)
- Cell & molecular biology
- Chemical biology & therapeutics
- Computational biology
- Developmental neurobiology
- Diagnostic imaging (medical students, physics, math, or engineering majors only)
- Epidemiology and cancer control (medical or graduate students)
- Infectious diseases
- Neuro-oncology (one medical student only)
- Neuro-surgery (medical students only)
- Nursing research (nursing students only)
- Oncology (a few clinical positions for medical students and a few lab positions for others)
- Pharmaceutical sciences
- Psychology (psychology majors only)
- Radiation oncology (medical students, physics, math, or engineering majors only)
- Structural biology
- Surgery (medical students only)
Fifty-eight US citizen students from 49 schools in 26 states were members of the POE 2017 Class. Their average undergraduate GPA was 3.85 on a 4.0 scale. They included 45 undergraduates (including May 2017 graduates), 11 medical students, one PharmD student, and one graduate student. Nine POE 2017 class members were prior year class members returning for a second 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 requirement for our program is 10 weeks at St. Jude for those currently in medical school 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. Applicants for our 2018 program should plan to start on a Monday (Tuesday, if Monday is Memorial Day) in May. Acceptable start dates for 2018 program participants will be May 7, May 14, May 21, or May 29, 2018. If you could not start on one of these dates (May 7, May 14, May 21, or May 29, 2018), you are not eligible for our 2018 program.
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.
Subsistence Allowance and Housing
Undergraduate participants in our program will receive a $400/week subsistence allowance, and all others will receive $480/week. 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. Travel expenses are the participant's responsibility.
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.
Applications for our 2017 program are closed. Applications for our 2018 program will open October 1, 2017 (or soon thereafter). The deadline for receipt of all 2018 application materials will be February 1, 2018. Students should submit their application without waiting for their recommenders to submit letters of recommendation. Applicants are encouraged to get all their credentials in by mid-late December, so that they can be considered for early placement. 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 website 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 list of Academic Departments & Divisions. Please note that clinical research matches are reserved for those currently attending medical school. The Pediatric Oncology Education Program application must be submitted online.
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