Teaming Up to Fight Cancer

The University of Maryland and CCR collaborate on integrative and systems biology and biological physics research.

Photo shows Robert Wiltrout, Ph.D., and Melvin Bernstein, Ph.D., signing a formal Memorandum of Understanding.
Robert Wiltrout, Ph.D., and Melvin Bernstein, Ph.D., sign a formal Memorandum of Understanding.(Photo: J. T. Consoli)

With the goal of bringing together the distinct expertise of their respective institutions to tackle the most pressing issues in cancer research, CCR Director Robert Wiltrout, Ph.D., and University of Maryland Vice President for Research Melvin Bernstein, Ph.D., signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding on May 19, 2010, at the UMD College Park campus.

The agreement involves the Departments of Physics, Mathematics, and the Institute for Physical Sciences and Technology at UMD in a Collaborative Research and Graduate Partnership Program in Cancer Technology with CCR. The vision is that the application of cutting-edge mathematical, physical, and engineering tools—both experimental and theoretical—will contribute significantly to the understanding of biological systems in health and disease.

UMD graduate students had already been working in NCI laboratories for several years, and the fruits of their research convinced administrators that an official program would benefit both institutions. The program will allow qualified UMD graduate students to conduct research under the joint supervision of CCR and university faculty and includes a series of lectures, workshops, and meetings.

The agreement also brings together cancer researchers, physical scientists, mathematicians, and engineers on the two campuses. “We are very enthusiastic about this partnership with the University of Maryland,” said Dr. Wiltrout. “I believe it will make both institutions stronger and ultimately advance cancer research for the benefit of patients. We can accomplish more by working in interdisciplinary teams.”