University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Founded in 1985, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) is the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in western Pennsylvania. With nearly 400 research and clinical faculty members specializing in disciplines ranging from cancer prevention and early detection to novel therapeutic discovery, survivorship, and end of life care, UPCI maintains a broad strategic vision and comprehensive approach to understanding and defeating cancer.
The UPCI Academy is an 8-week program designed to prepare high school scholars to further their studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and pursue careers in scientific research and medicine. Our Academy comprises 7 Sites which focus on various types of cancers as well as different approaches to studying cancer and related diseases. Scholars are paired with a research mentor from 1 of the 7 Sites and spend the majority of their time (80%) working first-hand on a research project, which is specifically tailored to the scholar. All scholars present their work as both a research talk and poster at the end of the program. To complement the research training, the Academy also provides classroom instruction, research and career seminars, professional development opportunities, and a host of fun, social activities for our Scholars.
The Drug Discovery, Systems and Computational Biology (DiSCoBio) Academy
Introduces rising high school juniors and seniors to the emerging fields of research that use both Computational and Experimental approaches to answer fundamental questions in Cancer Biology and related disciplines, including:
Computational Structural Biology (studying how proteins move and interact with each other)
Drug Discovery (theoretical and experimental designing and testing of candidate drug compounds)
Genomics/Bioinformatics (analyzing large data sets of sequencing and other data)
Image Analysis/Informatics (training a computer how to “see” and analyze biological image data)
Systems Biology (tackling biological questions using an integrated, holistic approach)
In addition to having a primary research experience in one of these fields, scholars will learn about the fundamental concepts in each of these “New Biologies”, and gain hands-on training in the tools and techniques central to these disciplines. Professional development activities will complement the research and didactic training to help prepare scholars for careers in science and/or medicine. Scholars should expect an immersive, challenging, and fulfilling research and training experience in a fast-growing area of cutting-edge, biomedical research.