Inside NCI: A Conversation with Dr. Jonathan Wiest about Cancer Research Training

Inside NCI: A Conversation with Dr. Jonathan Wiest about Cancer Research Training

November 8, 2019 0 By Kody Olson


♪ MUSIC ♪ DR. RICHARD MANROW:
Hello and welcome to Inside NCI. I’m Dr.Rick
Manrow with the National Cancer Institute’s Office
of Communications and Education and I’m joined
today by Dr. Jonathan Wiest, who is the Director of
the NCI Center for Cancer Training.
Welcome Dr. Wiest. DR. JONATHAN WIEST:
Thank you. DR. RICHARD MANROW: So Dr.
Wiest, tell me a little bit about the Center
for Cancer Training. DR. JONATHAN WIEST: The Center
for Cancer Training was created in early summer
of 2008 and so we brought together both the
extramural training side as well as the intramural
training side. And when I say extramural, I mean
training at universities and other organizations
outside of the NCI and intramural means training
within the walls of the NCI. We feel that a
successful training experience doesn’t just
mean that somebody’s going to go to a tenure tract
position when they leave, but that there’s lots of
career tracts that people can take that will
be important to the scientific enterprise
and help to move science forward that might
not necessarily be as a researcher doing
experiments either at the bench or at
their computers. DR. RICHARD MANROW: Have
cancer training needs changed over the last
couple of years? DR. JONATHAN WIEST: So that’s
a really good question, the areas of research
have certainly changed, but I think the need
is still to have bright people doing cancer
research and asking those critical questions. I also
think that the workforce needs are changing.
We need people who are thoughtful scientists to
do science administration, to do technology transfer,
to do regulatory review, to do all of those kinds
of things that take them out of the laboratory,
experimentalist setting, but helps to move
the field forward. DR. RICHARD MANROW: Is the
center currently focusing on any specific research need or needs
that we should be aware of? DR. JONATHAN WIEST: Integrative
sciences is one of the directions that
we would like to see things going.
Team science is clearly one of
the directions that, that science in general is
taking. The concept of an individual investigator
working by themselves to solve a problem is not
going to continue into the future. Teams are what are
going to be able to tackle the new tough questions
that are being asked. DR. RICHARD MANROW: How
does the, in your view, how does the center and
its training programs fit into the larger picture
of training activities in cancer, around
the country, and actually
throughout the world? DR. JONATHAN WIEST: I think that what we
do is really at the center of what’s being done in training.
We fund institutional grants, we fund individual
grants, and these are at institutions all across
the country and really help to support the basic
needs of researchers as far as funding goes in
institutions across the whole country. So I
really think we’re at the center of
those activities. DR. RICHARD MANROW:
What would you say to individuals who may be
considering a career in cancer research, medical
research in general, or biotechnology or those
who may be in one of those fields and that are
considering or who are considering the next
step in their careers? DR. JONATHAN WIEST: Now is
really an exciting time to be in science. The funding is
relatively stable at this point, I think the NCI has
done a terrific job of maintaining reasonably
good funding rates and the questions that one can ask
today are just astounding, with the kinds of
technologies that are available and the kinds of
teams that can people can build by bringing together
quantitative scientists together with
basic scientists, bio, molecular
biologists, clinicians, the kinds of questions
that can be answered now, it’s amazing the
kinds of things that could be done
at this point. DR. RICHARD MANROW: Well thank
you for joining us today, Dr. Wiest, you’ve given
us a lot of valuable information, important
things to think about. For more information about
NCI’s cancer training activities and cancer
research in general, please visit
NCI’s main website, www.cancer.gov.
For Inside NCI, this is Dr.
Rick Manrow. ♪ MUSIC ♪