Cancer Genetic Epidemiology Research Training Program (Postdoctoral)


Couch, Fergus J. Ph.D.
Vachon, Celine M. Ph.D.


Currently, this program is not accepting applications.

The Mayo Clinic Cancer Genetic Epidemiology Research Training Program is designed to produce investigators capable of developing independent careers in cancer research that transects the disciplines of genomics, epidemiology, statistical genetics, bioinformatics and clinical informatics. This multidisciplinary training integrates "omic" technologies and methods into epidemiology studies to stimulate improvements in cancer detection, prevention and treatment.

Mentoring is provided by experienced faculty with active research programs, including cancer genetic epidemiologists, statistical geneticists, cancer geneticists, clinical bioinformaticians and clinical mentors. The Mayo Clinic environment, medical record infrastructure and biospecimen repositories provide unique opportunities to link well-annotated clinical information with genomic, molecular and pathology data on patients.

In addition to salary, the trainee receives up to $15,000 a year for research costs and travel. Eligibility is limited to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Mayo Clinic

Located 80 miles southeast of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, Mayo Clinic is well-regarded for its cancer research, which includes established resources such as Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) in breast, ovarian, brain and pancreatic cancers; lymphoma; and myeloma.

In addition, Mayo Clinic is home to the Rochester Epidemiology Project, which facilitates population-based studies. The National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive Mayo Clinic Cancer Center provides extensive infrastructure support for patient-oriented research, including biostatistical and bioinformatics support and well-equipped analytical shared resources and cores that support population sciences.


Although required course work varies based on prior training, all trainees admitted to the Mayo Cancer Genetic Epidemiology Research Training Program will complete or demonstrate equivalent experience in courses offered in epidemiology, statistical methods, cancer biology, epigenetics, and responsible conduct and regulatory affairs.

Formal course work is supplemented by lecture series, journal clubs, workshops, short courses and seminars available through the clinical and research departments of Mayo Clinic.

Research training experience

An integral part of the Mayo Cancer Genetic Epidemiology Research Training Program is mandatory participation in a multidisciplinary research program. Many successful research programs in the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center include clinical investigators, epidemiologists, geneticists, biostatisticians and bioinformaticians as part of a team effort to study an organ or tissue-specific cancer.

These afford the opportunity for trainees to participate in collaborative research programs in areas such as:

  • Breast cancer
  • Gastrointestinal cancer
  • Hematologic malignancies
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Genetic epidemiology and risk assessment
  • Cancer prevention and control
  • Pharmacogenetics

Mayo Clinic's environment, medical record infrastructure and biospecimen repositories provide unique opportunities to couple well-annotated clinical information with genomic, molecular and pathology data on patients, and perform research that informs the practice of personalized medicine.

Trainees design and conduct a research project under the guidance of mentorship teams. The project will simulate a National Institutes of Health grant submission, including presentation of a proposal to an advisory committee, a study section and the Institutional Review Board; completion of the work; data analysis; and presentation of results.

A goal of the training program experience is for trainees to produce peer-reviewed, first-authored publications and generate preliminary data with which they can prepare and submit applications for extramural funding.

Feedback from trainees

  • "The training period in the R25T Program was a critical transitional phase in my career development, giving perspective on cancer prevention research from the view of not only cancer genetic and molecular epidemiology but also cancer chemoprevention." — XiangLin Tan, M.D., Ph.D.
  • "My experience as a trainee has given me the training necessary to engage in collaborative interactions with multidisciplinary researchers as I start my faculty career." — Kristen (Stevens) Purrington, Ph.D.
  • "The support and mentorship from R25 created a nurturing and productive environment, providing me with the initial necessary tools and leading to the development of a collaborative network of scientists interested in conducting high-throughput translational and integrative research in gynecological cancer." — Jesus Gonzalez Bosquet, M.D., Ph.D.

Optional advanced degree

Trainees have the opportunity to pursue a formal advanced degree, if desired. All trainees can pursue either a diploma in clinical research (12 course credits) or a Master of Science degree in clinical and translational science (24 course credits).


Trainees craft an individualized development plan in collaboration with a mentorship team that defines course work and research projects and allows ongoing monitoring of progress. Trainees are evaluated for successful completion of research plans through presentations and abstracts, publications, and peer-reviewed funding.


For more information about this position, contact Celine M. Vachon, Ph.D., at or 507-284-9977.


  1. Ahlquist, David A. M.D.
  2. Aubry, Marie Christine M.D.
  3. Beutler, Andreas S. M.D.
  4. Boardman, Lisa A. M.D.
  5. Cerhan, James R. M.D., Ph.D.
  6. Chari, Suresh T. M.D.
  7. Cliby, William A. M.D.
  8. Couch, Fergus J. Ph.D.
  9. de Andrade, Mariza Ph.D.
  10. Diasio, Robert B. M.D.
  11. Erlichman, Charles M.D.
  12. Feldman, Andrew L. M.D.
  13. Goetz, Matthew P. M.D.
  14. Goode, Ellen L. Ph.D.
  15. Hartmann, Lynn C. M.D.
  16. Horazdovsky, Bruce F. Ph.D.
  17. Ingle, James N. M.D.
  18. Jatoi, Aminah M.D.
  19. Jelinek, Diane F. Ph.D.
  20. Jenkins, Robert B. M.D., Ph.D.
  21. Kaufmann, Scott H. M.D., Ph.D.
  22. Kaur, Judith S. M.D.
  23. Kocher, Jean-Pierre A. Ph.D.
  24. Limburg, Paul J. M.D.
  25. Lindor, Noralane M. M.D.
  26. Mukhopadhyay, Debabrata (Dev) Ph.D.
  27. O'Neill, Brian P. M.D.
  28. Petersen, Gloria M. Ph.D.
  29. Rajkumar, S. Vincent M.D.
  30. Roberts, Lewis R. M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D.
  31. Schaid, Daniel J. Ph.D.
  32. Shridhar, Vijayalakshmi (Viji) Ph.D.
  33. Slager, Susan L. Ph.D.
  34. Smith, David I. Ph.D.
  35. Therneau, Terry M. Ph.D.
  36. Thibodeau, Stephen N. Ph.D.
  37. Vachon, Celine M. Ph.D.
  38. Wang, Liewei M.D., Ph.D.
  39. Warner, David O. M.D.
  40. Weinshilboum, Richard M.D.
  41. Yang, Ping M.D., Ph.D.