Interdisciplinary Training in Cancer Research

The Interdisciplinary Training in Cancer Research Program was established to foster collaboration between disciplines through interdivisional education and training.

We train young scientists to design and conduct research on significant problems in cancer by combining information and approaches from basic cellular and molecular biology, epidemiology, clinical trials and studies, and behavioral-social sciences. Our program helps researchers excel in the increasingly complex and specialized environments required for future cancer research. Trainee research projects typically transcend the traditional boundaries separating the molecular and cellular, clinical, epidemiologic and social cancer sciences. Research project topics include studies of molecular and cellular mechanisms, detection and diagnosis, risk and behavioral factors that influence cancer incidence, development and assessment of treatment strategies, and studies of cancer outcomes. Projects with a focus on infectious agents clearly explain the relevance of the proposed studies to the incidence of cancers associated with that agent.

Trainees work with two mentors who provide distinct, complementary areas of expertise, for example, by studying basic molecular and cellular mechanisms in combination with epidemiological analyses, or by participating in clinical research studies while studying behavioral or environmental factors that influence therapeutic outcomes.  

The program supports 10 trainees each year. Eight of the trainees are appointed to a National Cancer Institute (NCI) training grant and two are supported directly by Fred Hutch. Required programmatic activities include, but are not limited to, monthly trainee meetings, an annual colloquium and lunch with a program-hosted Current Biology Seminar Series speaker.

Appointment Details and Eligibility


Training Grant Positions:  A Ruth L. Kirschstein National Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grant awarded to the University of Washington by the National Cancer Institute. The grant is administered jointly by UW and Fred Hutch and includes four predoctoral slots and four postdoctoral slots.

Open to pre- and postdoctoral trainees at UW and Fred Hutch who are eligible for Kirchstein-NRSA support. Each trainee must be a citizen of the United States, a non-citizen national, or must have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence and possess an Alien Registration Receipt Card (1-151 or 1-551) or some other verification of legal admission as a permanent resident.

  • Initial appointments to the grant are 12-24 months long. Trainees must competitively reapply for additional periods of funding. The standard appointment period is December 1–November 30. 
  • Stipends (Kirstchstein-NRSA) and benefits are UW-based.
  • In-state tuition (operating fee, 10 credits F/W/S, 2 credits SU) is covered at approximately 60% for predoctoral trainees.
  • Mentors are responsible for covering any shortfalls in trainee costs.
  • Mentors can be based at UW, Fred Hutch, and/or Seattle Childrens; however, both mentors must have appointments with the University of Washington.


Fred Hutch-Funded Positions:  These institutional funds bolster the overall training program and complement the training grant by allowing us to increase the total number of trainees and support trainees who are not eligible for training grant support.

Open to pre- and postdoctoral trainees. Trainees and primary mentors must be based at Fred Hutch. There is no citizenship requirement.

  • Initial appointments are 12 months long. Trainees must competitively reapply for additional periods of funding. The standard appointment period is December 1–November 30. 
  • Predoctoral salaries are equivalent to UW’s School of Medicine rates. Postdoctoral salaries are supported up to Kirschstein-NRSA postdoctoral stipend level 2.
  • Tuition is not covered.
  • Mentors are responsible for covering any shortfalls in trainee costs.


We especially encourage applications from underrepresented individuals, individuals with disabilities and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Frequently Asked Questions


I am interested in the program and want to apply. When are you accepting applications?

We update the website, post flyers, and send announcements across divisions several weeks prior to the deadline. This usually takes place annually in late summer.

Do I need to submit applications to both funding sources or identify a funding source for consideration?

No. Only one application is required for consideration for both funding sources. Program leadership will evaluate position available and applicant eligibility when reviewing applications.

I am a foreign national with a student visa. Can I apply?

The Fred Hutch-funded positions in the program do not have citizenship requirements; however, applicants must be based at Fred Hutch. 

What is the time commitment of the program?

Trainees are generally appointed to the program for at least 12-months, with opportunities to re-apply for further funding. They must dedicate at least 40 hours per week (full-time effort) to the program.

I am looking for support for a few months in between fellowships. Can I apply?

The program does not support short-term training.

I am not able to start an appointment on December 1. Can I still apply?

Please consult with the program's administrator regarding your specific situation before applying.

Kirschstein-NRSA awards provide stipends. What is the difference between stipend and salary?

A stipend is not "salary" and is not provided as a condition of employment with either the Federal government or the recipient organization. See NIH Grants Policy Statement Please contact your local IRS office if you have questions about stipend tax applicability and obligations.

What is the difference between stipend supplementation and additional compensation?

See NIH Grants Policy Statement 11.3.10.

2019 Program Schedule

Date Time Location Activity
January 14 11-12 M1-A303 Fred Hutch Trainee Meeting: Introductions & IDPs
February 11 11-12 J-406 UW Trainee Meeting: Michelle Messmer, Matthew Miller *CANCELED DUE TO UW CLOSURE*
February 28 5pm - Individual Development Plans Due
March 11 11-12 M1-A303 Fred Hutch Trainee Meeting: Thomas Bello, Matthew Miller
April 8 11-12 J-406 UW Trainee Meeting: Ian Cardle, Charles Roco
May 13 11-12 B1-076 Fred Hutch Trainee Meeting: Erin Greenwood, Avraham Bayer
June 10 11-12 J-406 UW Trainee Meeting: Sujata Jana, Michelle Messmer
July 15 5pm - Progress Reports Due
September 9 11-12 M1-A303 Fred Hutch Trainee Meeting: Audrey Olshefsky, Nao Aoki
September TBD - - "Giving Scientific Presentations" by Sue Biggins
October 14 11-12 J-406 UW Trainee Meeting: Lisa Poole, Nayanga Thirimanne
November 12 12-1 Pelton Auditorium, Fred Hutch Current Bio Seminar Speaker: Joyce Schroeder, University of Arizona
November 15 1-4 D1-080/084 Fred Hutch Annual Colloquium: Schedule TBD



Other Requirements

Responsible Conduct of Research:  To learn more, visit the University of Washington's Biomedical Research Integrity Program site or Fred Hutch's Training & Organization Development's Research Ethics Education Program site (requires login).

Seminars: Trainees are highly encouraged to attend Fred Hutch's Translational Research Program seminar series and Current Biology seminar series.

Science Writing Workshops:  TBD

We are currently accepting applications. Complete applications are due Friday, September 20 at 12 p.m.

How to Apply

The program’s primary funding source, an NCI training grant (T32) is currently under review for continued funding. Appointments contingent on continued grant funding.
  1. Complete the application form along with your biosketch, research proposal, and mentor letters.
  2. Combine all application components into a single PDF with the naming structure "Lastname_IDTG-Application_Date.pdf"
  3. Email your complete application to the training grant administrator.
Application Components
Biosketch Provide details of your academic training and any relevant research and work experience. Please use the fellowship version of the NIH biosketch format.
Research Proposal

Describe how your proposed research project relates to cancer biology. For research involving infectious agents, explicitly describe the relevance of the proposed studies to cancers associated with that agent. Summarize how the research focuses on an important, currently unanswered question. Indicate why and how the answer to that problem would lead to new areas of investigation or otherwise significantly affect the field.

Describe your training goals and the exact nature of the interdisciplinary training as part of your research plan. Discuss the theories, approaches, scientific and non-technical skills, etc. you will learn or enhance during your time in the program. Avoid providing excessive experimental details. Explain why each mentor is necessary for your training plan and detail their roles in the proposed research.

  • Page Limit: 2 pages of text (figures/references do not count toward the limit)
  • Margins: 0.75”
  • Font: Arial, 11pt
Mentor Letter

Letters are required from both mentors and should:

  • Assess the applicant’s strengths.
  • Discuss how the proposed training program will further enhance the applicant’s professional and academic development.
  • Describe a unique and well-developed training plan for the applicant.
  • Describe the experimental goals within each lab for the upcoming year; specifically, how those goals will complement one another across disciplines to answer a clearly described question in cancer biology.
  • Explicitly describe the role of each mentor in the instruction and supervision of the applicant.

The primary mentor should also confirm they have sufficient and appropriate funding to cover shortfalls in trainee costs, such as supplies, equipment, and/or other research expenses; additional compensation or supplementation; tuition and benefits.

While additional letters of recommendation are not required, post-doctoral applicants may submit one additional letter from their primary Ph.D. thesis advisor, if desired.

Mentors may submit letters directly to the program’s administrator. If they do, applicants must indicate this in the last section of the application form under “Additional Comments.”

Read Selected Publications From Our Trainees

Other programs

Not the right fit? Explore our other internships and programs.

Contact Us

Anissa Barker


Barry Stoddard

Program Director