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Cancer Biology

Graduate and Post-Doctoral Training

MCCB is the home department of the Cancer Biology Program, one of 11 doctoral degree programs in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) at UMMS. The Cancer Biology Program was founded in 2006 by Art Mercurio to provide students interested in pursuing a career in cancer biology with rigorous training in biochemistry, genetics, molecular and cell biology, as well as an understanding of the clinical aspects of cancer. About half of the PhD students and all of the MD/PhD students in MCCB are in the Cancer Biology Program. Furthermore, about half of MCCB faculty participate in this program, and although it is based in MCCB, it also includes faculty from most basic science departments and several clinical departments. This program is also an integral component of the UMass Cancer Center and it affords students the opportunity to participate in disease-based programs of the Cancer Center that are designed to translate achievements from the basic sciences to the clinical management of human cancers.

For students and postdocs whose research is not focused on cancer, we also offer training in other areas of biology, especially molecular genetics and cell biology. Graduate students receive education primarily through the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program, but also through the PhD programs in Neuroscience and Immunology and Microbiology.

Our graduate students have been successful in obtaining independent fellowships, publishing high-impact papers, receiving institutional awards, and obtaining postdoctoral or industry positions at major institutions and pharmaceutical/biotech companies. Postdocs being mentored by MCCB faculty have been successful in obtaining independent fellowships, publishing high-impact papers and obtaining positions in academics and industry.

The monthly MCCB Alumni Profiles highlights the strong graduate and post-doctoral fellowship training received by MCCB members.

UMass Chan Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs Represented Within MCCB:

Cancer Biology Program

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

Immunology and Microbiology Program

Neuroscience Program

Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology Program


















Below is demographics data indicating the gender, citizenship, and racial identity of the MCCB grad and post-doctoral fellows.


Internal MCCB "Works In Progress" Seminar Series

The MCCB "Works In Progress" Seminar Series is a weekly, student- and postdoc-led seminar series, where students and postdocs present, discuss, and analyze their work and get feedback from MCCB peers.  

Cancer Biology Retreat

The annual Cancer Biology Program Retreat is an all-day event that brings together researchers from UMMS studying diverse aspects of cancer biology. The retreat attracts approximately 100 faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, and features oral presentations (by faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students) and a poster session (postdoctoral fellows and graduate students). The retreat has a relaxed atmosphere that is conducive to interactions, discussions and networking. It is held off-campus at the Hogan Campus Center at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. The event includes a lunch and an evening reception, and is put on through funding from the Our Danny Cancer Fund, a philanthropic fund that supports cancer research at UMMS.

The highlight of the retreat is a keynote address from a prominent researcher, who is selected, invited and hosted by a committee of predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees.