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Radiation oncology training

Candidates for the pre-doctoral program in radiation oncology translational research are selected from interested M.D./Ph.D. students and graduate students in VCU’s medical physics Ph.D. program. Candidates for the postdoctoral program are recruited from radiation oncology and radiology residents with interests in translational research and from Ph.D. scientists identified through standard recruitment methods with interests in cancer biology and physics as applied to radiation oncology. The faculty preceptors have research interests in cancer biology, structural biology and drug design, clinical radiation oncology, medical physics and imaging. Students are introduced to general aspects of radiation and cancer biology through lecture series and in formal courses offered in the department and at NCI-designated VCU Massey Cancer Center. The basic science departments at VCU provide advanced didactic training in modern molecular and cellular biology for physician scientists.

Training in radiological physics and imaging includes formal courses in diverse aspects of dosimetry, diagnostic imaging and instrumentation and mentored research in intensity-modulated radiotherapy, brachytherapy and diagnostic imaging. For biology students, mentored research in modern radiobiology includes DNA repair mechanisms, radiation-induced signal transduction mechanisms and reactive oxygen/nitrogen biology. An emphasis in training is on the translational aspects of their research, and this is accomplished through the strong translational research program in the Department of Radiation Oncology, as well as lectures given by clinicians in the department. In addition, there is a requirement for all trainees to participate in a structured physician-shadowing program in the clinic.

Application and required documents

Because this program is funded by the National Institutes of Health, applicants must be U.S. citizens or have permanent visa status. Letters of recommendation from faculty members knowledgeable about the candidate’s research, including the thesis adviser, along with graduate and undergraduate transcripts and MCAT or GRE scores are required. Postdoctoral applicants must have received their M.D. or Ph.D. or have successfully defended the thesis prior to their entry into the program. VCU is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

Send letters of application and accompanying materials to:

Ross B. Mikkelsen, professor and chair
Division of Molecular Radiobiology, Department of Radiation Oncology
Virginia Commonwealth University, Box 980058
Richmond, VA 23298-0058