Fred Hutch, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and UW Medicine Complete Restructure of Partnership

Learn More

Frontiers in Cancer Research

Frontiers in Cancer Research ("Frontiers") is an NIH SEPA funded program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. Frontiers provides curriculum, hands-on scientific resources and research experiences to help secondary school teachers and their students understand what cancer is, how it can be treated, and what kind of careers are possible in biomedical research. This program builds on our long-standing efforts and institutional commitment to support the development of a more diverse next generation of biomedical scientists.


  • SEP-Frontiers Teacher Professional Development
  • Frontiers in Cancer Research Curriculum Development
  • SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Confidence Project


Chowning, J. T., Wu, R., Brinkema, C., Crocker, W. D., Bass, K., & Lazerte, D. (2019). A NEW Twist on DNA Extraction: Collaborative argumentation and student protocol design. The Science Teacher, 86(6), 20-27. PMC6656384

Chowning, J. T. (2022). Science teachers in research labs: Expanding conceptions of social dialogic dimensions of scientific argumentationJournal of Research in Science Teaching, 1– 28.


Frontiers in Cancer Research Curriculum

blood cells

Intro to Cancer: Leukemia & Hina's Story

A Cellular Look at Cancer and Cancer Treatments

This unit investigates the case of Hina Marsey, an eleven-year old girl, who is diagnosed with leukemia. By exploring Hina’s case, students develop conceptual models on cell growth/development, cancer, and cancer treatments. Students have opportunities for collaborative model building, discussions about health inequities in cancer, and evidence-based argumentation.

Intro Biology
10 Lesson Plans
Remote or In Classroom

Learn More
Illustration of a t-cell attacking a cancer cell


This unit focuses on the topic of cancer, leukemia, and immunotherapies as a way to explore concepts such as the cell cycle, cell growth, the immune system, and genetic mutations. Over the seven lessons, students are introduced to a case study featuring Kristin K., a woman diagnosed with a treatment-resistant form of leukemia and for whom a stem cell donor match could not be found.

Advanced Biology & Biotechnology
7 Lesson Plans
Remote or In Classroom

Learn More

Career Profiles

The Frontiers in Cancer Research - Career Profiles Website has been developed as a tool for high school students to accompany the Frontiers in Cancer Research curriculum units. The site features profiles of real professionals working in fields related to cancer research, cancer treatment, and patient care. These people work across many disciplines of science, social sciences, medicine, and healthcare. Their stories represent a variety of career and educational pathways, diverse backgrounds, and various career stages. The featured professionals work for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, the University of Washington, Seattle Children's Hospital, and other organizations based in Washington State. Some work with adult patients, others work with pediatric patients and their families. For many of the featured professionals, their work is related to leukemia and other blood cancers and the topics featured in these curriculum units. Students can explore the profiles on the site, read a variety of career stories, and access links to external resources. In addition, a Becoming the Next Cancer Researcher or Clinician section provides college and career information for students planning for a career in STEM, healthcare, or medicine. Teachers can use the Supplementary Info: College & Career Connections document to plan how to incorporate the study of careers in the science classroom. (Note that this site is currently in development; more profiles are being added each month).

SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Confidence Project

The SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Confidence Project aims to develop resources related to inspiring vaccine confidence in partnership with the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) and the Fred Hutch/ UW Office of Community Outreach & Engagement. Through this supplement, SEP is partnering with Arkitek Scientific to create high-quality scientific animations of how the mRNA vaccine works. SEP also aims to create informational videos targeted to youth, and resources for Spanish-speaking communities that will explain the science of vaccine development and address common misconceptions that can be utilized by community educators and CoVPN partners. This award will also support the development of vaccine related teaching materials for the broad network of SEP teachers. This is one of the few programs to date at the NIH targeting the potential for education to P-12 and community audiences to fight distrust of the safety and value of vaccination. 

This project was made possible by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), Grant Number R25 GM129842, from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIGMS or NIH.

NIGMS, part of the National Institutes of Health, supports basic research that increases the understanding of biological processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Its Science Education Partnership Award program funds innovative pre-kindergarten to grade 12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, and informal science education projects.