Cancer Biology Concentration

Cancer Biology banner.

NOTE: This page is for detailed information about the Cancer Biology Advanced Concentration only. All inquiries concerning admission to the BMS Admissions office at More information on admissions is also available on the Admissions Page.

Program Areas of Research | Program of Study | Program Contacts


The Advanced Concentration in Cancer Biology is one of eight advanced concentrations leading to the Ph.D. degree under the auspices of the Graduate Program (BMS) in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

The Cancer Biology Concentration provides training opportunities in cancer research ranging from basic to translational. The program spans many disciplines, including molecular and cell biology, genetics and epigenetics, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, anatomy, pathology, epidemiology, bioinformatics, immunology and many others involved in the understanding of the development, progression, dissemination and treatment of cancer.

The Goal of the Cancer Biology Concentration is to utilize molecular, cellular, biochemical, and host experimental approaches develop new knowledge that will enhance our understanding of cancer that will translate into improved detection, prevention and treatment of this disease.

The Mission of the Cancer Biology Concentration is to train the next generation of cancer biologists to make significant contributions to basic and translational research in cancer prevention and diagnosis, cancer epidemiology, novel therapy discovery, and cancer treatment.

Students in the will have opportunities to work with outstanding cancer investigators in state of the art facilities. Through combinations of courses, seminars, small group discussions, and an interdisciplinary approach to research, the program allows students to gain a unique understanding of cancer and to build a firm foundation upon which they can build careers in academia, government, and biotech and pharmaceutical industry.

Meet Dietmar Siemann, Ph.D., associate director for education and training at the UF Health Cancer Center, and Patrick Kellish, Ph.D. student:

Areas of Research

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  • Cancer genetics
  • Molecular and cell biology
  • Cell signaling
  • Pharmacology/toxicology
  • Cancer immunology
  • Tumor microenvironment
  • Metastasis
  • Stem cells
  • Gene therapy
  • Therapy resistance
  • Molecular targeting
  • Drug development
  • Radiation biology
  • Cancer diagnostics
  • Epidemiology

Meet Cancer Researchers on the Rise: Rachel Newsome

Program of Study

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First Year

Fall SemesterSpring SemesterSummer Semester
GMS 6001: Fundamentals of Biomedical Science, 5 credits GMS 6065: Fundamentals of Cancer Biology, 3 credits GMS 7979 Research, 6 credits
GMS 6003: Essentials of Graduate Research & Professional Development, 1 credit GMS 7003: Responsible Conduct of Biomedical Research, 1 credit Total = 6 credits
GMS 6090: Journal Club, 1 credit GMS 6691: Cancer Biology Journal Club, 1 credit
GMS 6090: 2 Laboratory Rotations, 2 credits GMS 6090: Laboratory Rotations, 1 credit
Total = 9 credit hoursGMS 6934: Cancer Biology Data Discussions, 1 credit
Additional electives, 2 credits
Total = 9 credit hours
Students are expected to attend the UF Health Cancer Center weekly seminar series

Requirements After the First Year

Course Work – Cancer Biology Concentration (CBC) students must select at least 4 additional credits from advanced cancer course electives. The elective credits can consist of any mix of graduate credit courses appropriate for the student’s training and research area and approved by the student’s mentor and CBC Coordinators.
After the first year, supervised research is the major focus of the CBC graduate curriculum. Research credits (GMS 7979) in the Fall and Spring semesters can range from 1-9, and in the Summer semester from 1-6; adjustable depending on other credit courses taken.
GMS 5905, Special Topics: Biochemistry/Cancer Grant Writing, 1 credit, is required to be taken in the Summer of year 2 or 3
GMS 6691: Cancer Biology Journal Club – 1 credit each Fall and Spring semester
GMS 6934: Cancer Biology Data Discussions – 1 credit each Fall and Spring semester
Attendance at Weekly UFHCC Topics in Cancer Seminar Series and Monthly UFHCC Grand Rounds
Supervisory Committee – By the end of the first year (summer term), students must form a supervisory committee composed of 4 or 5 faculty members including the research mentor who serves as chair of the committee. In addition to the chair/research mentor, the committee must include 2 faculty members from the Cancer Biology Concentration and an external member from outside the CBC. Supervisory Committee Meetings – Students meet twice a year with their supervisory committees.



(Examples of Cancer Biology Concentration advanced course electives are listed below):

  • GMS 6064 (1): Tumor Biology
  • GMS 6053 (1): Cancer Biology and Therapeutics
  • BCH 7412 (1): Epigenetics in Human Disease and Development
  • BCH 7410 (1): Advanced Gene Regulation
  • GMS 6644 (1): Apoptosis
  • GMS 6335 (1): Advanced Stem Cell Biology
  • GMS 6338 (1): Recent Advances in Cancer Metastasis
  • GMS 6232 (1): Advanced Applications of Bioinformatics
  • GMS 6818 (2): Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials
  • GMS 5905 (1): Special Topics in Biomedical Sciences (Immunology and Cancer)

The Faculty and Their Research

The Cancer Biology Concentration includes participating faculty from both basic science and clinical departments of the University of Florida. For a list of faculty members in the Cancer Biology advanced program, please click here.

News article: Immunotherapy treatment shows effectiveness against deadly brain tumor during early tests

Concentration Contacts

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Dietmar Siemann, Ph.D
Coordinator, Cancer Biology Advanced Concentration
Department of Radiation Oncology
University of Florida College of Medicine
Phone: (352) 273-8231 | E-mail:

Maria Zajac-Kaye, Ph.D
Coordinator, Cancer Biology Advanced Concentration
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology – University of Florida College of Medicine
Phone: (352) 273-9153 | E-mail:

Mark Zakshevsky
Graduate Administrator
Phone: (352) 273-8471 | E-mail: