Leading Scottish medical schools and research institutes
Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities host the leading Scottish medical schools and the clinical catchment area of the two cancer treatment centres covers three-quarters of the Scottish population.
TRACC has access to a combined pool of over 80 PIs and potential clinical trainee supervisors who have all undergone mandatory supervisor training. Many are either clinical academics themselves and/or have an established track record in training and mentoring clinical academics. They provide an expert group that encompasses diversity of opportunity in terms of tumour type (notable excellence in brain, colorectal, pancreas, ovary, leukaemias, breast), scientific approach (in vivo/in vitro preclinical models, genetics and genomics, cell biology, immunology, drug discovery, precision oncology, bioinformatics, computational biology, artificial intelligence and machine learning, clinical trials) and disease stage focus (risk-prevention, diagnosis, tumour initiation, invasion and metastasis, response and resistance to treatment). This breadth should be attractive for clinical trainees with interests across the medical spectrum from molecular pathology to physiology, surgery, and medical and clinical oncology. They will be provided with multi-disciplinary training, supported and enabled to pursue research beyond post-graduate qualification, and connected to international cancer research networks to enable them to perform impactful cancer research throughout their careers.
TRACC CRTFs will form a cohort of fellows who will have peer support at the induction weeks, dedicated monthly half-day or one-day training seminars alternating between the two Centres (presentations from clinical academics from a variety of specialities and levels of seniority) and retreats. For MB-PhD students, they will form a similar, albeit smaller cohort of individuals who will meet weekly for clinical training. In year two of their PhD, fellows from both CRTF and MB-PhD streams will ‘buddy’ a year one fellow on their stream to provide additional peer support and cohesion and to learn to mentor. Given the importance of research integrity, the CRUK Beatson Institute will provide training workshops on good research practice. All fellows (MB-PhD and CRTFs) will get free registration for the annual CRUK Beatson Institute meeting and workshops. They will also be invited to attend the weekly clinical academic training seminars (which operate at both institutions). In addition, a TRACC annual meeting will be organised to which all fellows and current/potential supervisors will be invited. Trainees will also join the annual IGC-Beatson/Glasgow postdoctoral symposium. Outside the programme the MB-PhD and CRTF students will be encouraged to attend and present at meetings within their area of interest and at more general cancer research meetings such as the annual NCRI Cancer Conference. In Edinburgh, the trainees will also benefit from educational activities and networking opportunities with graduates from numerical disciplines (e.g. computer science, physics, mathematics, statistics) provided through the ongoing Cross-disciplinary Postdoctoral Fellowships [XDF] Programme. The XDF Programme has been designed to train future leaders in quantitative biomedicine.
Cancer Research UK Glasgow Centre
The CRUK Glasgow Centre (CRUK GC) has now combined its strengths in basic, translational and clinical cancer research under the leadership of Professor Owen Sansom who also directs the CRUK Beatson Institute (CRUK BI) and works in close partnership with the Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow (ICS), directed by Professor Laura Machesky. Combined, the two Institutes are home to over 40 internationally excellent PIs. The CRUK BI has a reputation for fundamental cancer research, including world-class metabolism studies and renowned in vivo modelling of tumour growth and metastasis, and leads or participates in large international initiatives and work with industry partners. ICS has state of the art facilities at the Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre (WWCRC) and Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre where groups focus on cancer-specific translational and clinical research, and leading-edge precision oncology, including for pancreatic cancer (Precision-Panc), leukaemias and more recently colorectal cancer with the recruitment of Professor Richard Wilson (Co-Investigator and Training Lead). Glasgow is also home to a CRUK Clinical Trials Unit (CRUK CTU), adult and paediatric ECMCs and the CRUK BI Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) which employs over 30 staff in the chemical and biological drug discovery arena. The CTU participates in over 170 academic-led clinical trials (developing and co-ordinating ~30 of these) in conjunction with the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre (BWoSCC). These units provide further discipline diversity for clinical trainees.
Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre
The CRUK Edinburgh Centre (CRUK EC Director Ian Tomlinson, Clinical Director Charlie Gourley), brings together cancer scientists and clinicians from across the University of Edinburgh to deliver excellent cancer research and improved patient care. This provides a pool of over 25 PIs, many with programme funding, at the forefront of genomic, cellular and clinical /translational science to promote a greater understanding of the risks and causes of cancer, the mechanisms that underlie disease progression and why some cancers do not respond to therapy. The CRUK Edinburgh Centre is located in the Institute of Genetics and Cancer (IGC) on the Western General Hospital campus, which has 80 PIs and includes the MRC Human Genetics Unit (Director Wendy Bickmore FRS), Centre for Genomics and Experimental Medicine (Director Tim Aitman) and NHS Lothian Clinical Genetics. CRUK-funded (and other) cancer research is carried out also at the Royal Infirmary campus, in the MRC Centres of Inflammation Research (Moira Whyte and Chris Gregory), Reproductive Health (Jeff Pollard) and Regenerative Medicine (Stuart Forbes), as well as in the Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences and Informatics (Aziz Sheikh).