Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the University at Buffalo to Initiate New Transatlantic Graduate Program

By John Wood

Release Date: October 7, 2009 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and the University at Buffalo (UB) have received a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish a dual master's degree program in the biology and systems of cancer. The RPCI/UB team will work collaboratively with universities in Luxembourg and the Netherlands to implement the graduate program. The universities in Europe will receive similar grants in the amount of -400,000 from the European Commission.

Moray Campbell, PhD, from RPCI, working closely with the Department of Education at RPCI, is the U.S. lead and program coordinator and is currently planning program implementation with colleagues at the University of Luxembourg and the Free University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The master's degree program is designed to address the considerable shortage of young researchers in the fields of systems biology and cancer biology.

Exposing students to interdisciplinary skills, knowledge and experiences from both the USA and the European Union (EU) will provide them with experiences that are highly sought-after in the research community. Each participating institution excels in a different area, which adds to the diversity of experience.

The program will train 48 students from the USA and EU over a period of 48 months, combining studies in mathematics, computer science and cancer biology. The equal weighting of systems biology and cancer biology is unprecedented: Other institutes offer master's programs in cancer biology but rarely, if at all, include systems biology components. The few systems biology master's programs that exist do not touch on its applications to human health.

"We are delighted Roswell Park has been awarded this prestigious transatlantic grant to develop a truly unique graduate program in cancer biology that draws on the strengths in research and teaching of RPCI and its European partners," said Stephen Dunnett, vice provost for international education at UB. "Students in this program will benefit greatly from this distinctive tri-national research and training program, and Roswell will build upon its extensive collaborations with leading research institutions around the world."

Arthur M. Michalek, PhD, FACE, dean of the Roswell Park Graduate Division at the University at Buffalo, remarked, "Roswell Park Cancer Institute has a long tradition of international outreach. While this new program will certainly allow us to continue this tradition, it also is unique in that it will afford our trainees an opportunity to benefit from their exposure to other scientific approaches and cultures in a program that is one-of-a-kind."

Both the University at Luxembourg and the Free University in the Netherlands are known for their diverse student populations, and offer master's degree courses in multiple languages, including English. The University at Luxembourg, with an enrollment of 4,200 students from 80 countries, is known worldwide for its scientific research, including the life sciences. The Free University, which has an enrollment of 19,000, has a program in earth and life sciences that integrates organism and environmental behavior and their interactions from the cellular to societal level.

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation's leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI's Web site at, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or e-mail

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.