Fellowship Program Overview
The Division of Gynecologic Oncology is an integral part of the University of Virginia Cancer Center. The Cancer Center is one of only 12 NCI-Designated Clinical Cancer Centers and is directed by Michael Weber, PhD, an internationally known scientist in Cell-Signaling.
The Cancer Center has 10 basic research core laboratories and 202 competitively funded investigators organized around the following programmatic themes: Cell Signaling, Metastasis, Invasion and Cell Surfaces, Structural Biology, Immunology, and Endocrinology. These investigators [who were awarded more than 45 million dollars in extra-mural funding last year] are potential scientific mentors for the fellows. Research mentors within the Division of Gynecologic Oncology are Dr. Susan Modesitt for obesity related cancers, Dr. Linda Duska for clinical trials, and Dr. Leigh Cantrell for minimally invasive surgery (MIS).
The clinical program of the Cancer Center provides a large number of patients for clinical care and clinical research. More than 2000 new and analytic cancer cases are seen each year. The clinical programs are organized around multidisciplinary care teams, divided by cancer site, each with participation by specialists from diagnostic imaging, the specific surgical discipline, radiation oncology, medical oncology, pathology, and specialty nurse coordinators. In addition, the Division of Gynecologic Oncology is a full member of the Gynecologic Oncology Group, the most prestigious cancer research group dealing with gynecological malignancies.
Training of gynecologic oncology fellows will be under the direction of Dr. Linda Duska. Fellows have the option to pursue laboratory or translational research during the first year with a possible attainment of an MPH or master's degree.
The first year will be devoted purely to research or to the MPH, with minimal clinical responsibilities ascribed the fellow. For lab fellows, after initial orientation and familiarization with pertinent laboratory techniques, the fellow will develop and execute a laboratory project in conjunction with the laboratory faculty with the expectation that this project will result in a paper, which satisfies the requirements for the fellowship thesis as specified for subspecialty certification. Continued pursuit of laboratory research during the clinical fellowship years will be encouraged. Collaboration with faculty and subsequent fellows, as well as technicians will allow for continuity of a project over a three-year period. This experience will provide the fellow with the skills necessary to pursue laboratory research as a faculty member. For MPH candidates, the degree will be obtained during this year.
Fellows will be expected to present their work at regional and national meetings. Travel money will be provided by the Division of Gynecologic Oncology for the fellows to attend scientific meetings for paper presentations and for participation in the program. The meetings will include the annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, and the annual Gynecologic Oncology Group meeting. Fellows will also be encouraged to participate in the Society of Gynecologic Investigation, as well as the Mid-Atlantic Gynecologic Oncology Society.
In order to broaden the experience of the fellows, they will have a total of two off-service rotations during the two clinical years. Currently these rotations are:
Radiation Oncology with Dr. Bernard Schneider (clinical year two: one month).
Pathology with Dr. Mark Stoler (clinical year two: one month).
These rotations may change as the needs of the trainees require.