Fellowship Program Director: Andrew M. Blakely, M.D.
The Surgical Oncology Research Fellowship Program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) trains surgeons who are committed to academic careers in the expanding field of surgical oncology. The program provides a comprehensive research and clinical experience. Dedicated research time is spent in one of several laboratories with a faculty mentor committed to developing the fellow’s investigative skills. Time on the clinical service is characterized by exposure to a broad range of complex pathology, emphasizing multidisciplinary care of oncology patients. Over the course of the fellowship, trainees will develop a solid basis for the conduct of clinical, translational, and laboratory research in oncology that lays the foundation for future specialty training and academic practice.
During the first year, fellows spend six months on clinical rotations. Time is evenly split among the Surgical Oncology, Endocrine Surgery, and Thoracic Surgery services. Fellows provide clinical care for patients enrolled on various clinical research protocols, both from within the Surgical Oncology Program and from across the NIH. The Surgical Oncology service treats patients with gastric, hepatobiliary, colorectal, and peritoneal surface malignancies. The Endocrine Surgery service treatment for patients with thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal gland neoplasms as well as neuroendocrine tumors. The Thoracic Surgery service treats patients with primary or metastatic disease of the lung in addition to mediastinal pathology. Clinical management of patients at the NIH is made uniquely complex by investigational agents and advanced stages of disease.
Fellows will spend eighteen months in any one of several laboratories either within the Surgical Oncology Program or the Surgery Branch. Placement in another NIH laboratory is possible depending on the fellow’s research interests. The overall goal of the research experience is to improve the fellow’s understanding of the experimental scientific method, knowledge of the scientific literature, and ability to formulate and test hypotheses within a specific field of study. Emphasis is placed on developing facility with various laboratory techniques, the ability to conduct investigative work independently, and clinical application of laboratory studies. The NCI and the greater NIH community is home to expansive state-of-the-art research facilities as well as expertise in a wide variety of areas. The fellows work directly with principal investigators and regularly present their research to members of the laboratory and the surgery branch. Presentation at national clinical and scientific meetings is expected and encouraged.
An additional twelve months is available for fellows interested in clinical immunotherapy, usually completed prior to the two-year surgical oncology fellowship. The immunotherapy positions are offered to select candidates under Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg. If selected for the year of clinical immunotherapy, the fellow’s eighteen months of dedicated research time are spent in an immunotherapy lab within the Surgery Branch.
Throughout the fellows’ time at the NCI, there is a standard educational curriculum. At the start of the fellowship, a summertime lecture series focusing on tools and topics particularly relevant to starting research projects is offered. Weekly conferences include a didactic lecture series presented by senior staff that covers core topics in surgical oncology and clinical conferences for case presentations. The curriculum also includes monthly journal clubs, clinical research discussions, and faculty presentations of their research and clinical trial protocols.
Surgical Oncology Fellowship Page
Apply to this program through the NIH Graduate Medical Education Application System.