K-12 Program

The Paul Calabresi Clinical Oncology Training Program provides additional didactic training and mentored clinical research for young investigators. Faculty members who are within four years of completion of training in oncology have protected time to pursue additional training to ensure their success as translational researchers in oncology.

The success of the program is evidence by the many trainees who have become independent researchers with peer-reviewed funding. The Program has been continually funded since 1994.

City of Hope is a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center with strong research programs that provide ample opportunity for mentored research in:
  • Basic Science Research Program
    • Molecular Oncology (MONC)
  • Clinical and Translational Research Programs
    • Developmental Cancer Therapeutics (DCT)
    • Cancer Immunotherapeutics (CI)
    • Hematologic Malignancies (HM)
  • Prevention and Control Program
    • Cancer Control and Population Sciences (CCPS)
Program Components:
Year One: Intensive courses in clinical investigation; Participation in Journal Clubs and/or Research Seminars; Laboratory rotations and initiate multi-disciplinary clinical research training.

Years Two through Four: For a minimum of 23 hours per week, scholars will be engaged in a supervised translational research program under the full-time guidance of a senior clinical investigator with the assistance of a laboratory mentor. In addition the the supervised translational research, scholars will present their ongoing clinical research efforts to peers, mentor and the Advisory Committee and provide a written progress report every six months.

Program Management

Joanne Mortimer, M.D., (Principal Investigator, Program Director)
Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research

Dr. Joanne Mortimer has a long history of commitment to scholarship and the mentoring of trainees and faculty. Following completion of her Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology Fellowship training at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, she was recruited to the University of Washington. Seven years later, she moved to Washington University as the Medical Director of the Barnard Cancer Center. During her 13 years in St. Louis, Dr. Mortimer conducted clinical research trials in breast cancer and served as co-director of the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program. She received numerous awards for teaching and clinical excellence. In 2007, Dr. Mortimer was recruited to City of Hope from the University of California, San Diego, where she was the Deputy Director for Clinical Affairs at the Moores Cancer Center. Currently, Dr. Mortimer is the Director of the Women’s Cancers Program and the Associate Director for Affiliates in the Cancer Center. She is also the Vice Chair of Medical Oncology and the Principal Investigator for the “Paul Calabresi Career Development Award for Clinical Oncology (K12)”.

Linda Malkas, Ph.D., (Advisory Committee Member)
Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope.

Dr. Malkas is also the Associate Director for Basic Science of the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her laboratory has focused on elucidating the mechanisms underlying cancer cell DNA damage accumulation, which has also been correlated with disease progression. Her laboratory was the first to successfully isolate an intact multiprotein DNA synthesis complex that is both stable and fully functional (termed the DNA synthesome) from a variety of mammalian cell lines and tissues. Subsequent work demonstrated that the synthesome of malignant breast epithelial cells has a significantly decreased DNA synthesis fidelity (exhibiting a more error-prone synthesis process) than the complex of non-malignant breast epithelial cells. She is currently working on the development of DNA-damaging cancer chemotherapeutic drugs based on the novel target identified in her lab. Dr. Malkas has mentored numerous graduate and post-graduate students.

Susan Neuhausen, Ph.D., (Advisory Committee Member)
Morris & Horowitz Families Professor in Cancer Etiology and Outcomes Research, Population Sciences

A prominent molecular epidemiologist and co-Leader of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program in the Cancer Center. Dr. Neuhausen’s research focuses on genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that predispose to the development of diseases such as breast and ovarian cancers. Using genetics to understand the etiology of this disease and develop more accurate models for risk estimation is essential to ultimately tailor prevention strategies and therapies. Based on extensive in vivo and in vitro studies, one important pathway for breast cancer pathogenesis may be the IGF signaling pathway, which regulates both cellular proliferation and apoptosis. One of Dr. Neuhausen’s research studies is focused on the association of variants in genes involved in insulin-like growth factor signaling and risk of breast cancer in a cohort of women carrying pathogenic BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations and in women not carrying known mutations. Another study investigates the role of DNA methylation as a modifier of risk in carriers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. She also works with Dr. Bernstein on the California Teachers Registry and with Dr. Weitzel on studies utilizing the Hereditary Cancer Research Registry.

Jonathan Espenschied, (Advisory Committee Member)
Director of Graduate Medical Education and Clinical Training

As the curriculum director, Mr. Espenschied oversees the didactic curriculum and works closely with the Principal Investigators, Advisory Committee, trainees and mentors to ensure a high quality experience and effective reseaech training. Mr. Espenschied has extensive experience in building efficient, effective graduate level training and expertise in current methodologies of clinical trial design, responsible conduct, and statistical analysis. Mr. Espenschied currently leads the GME and Clinical Training programs which allows him to keep apprised of all of the trainees, assisting them as they develop and advance through their programs.