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Ph.D. in Cancer Biology

Advancement in the detection and treatment of cancer continues to accelerate through ground breaking research in basic, population and clinical science. Yet cancer continues to adversely affect millions of people worldwide in terms of quality of life, life span and economic burden. The Cancer Biology PhD Program was established with the specific goal of providing cutting edge training and education in cancer research to achieve the Moffitt mission of "contributing to the prevention and cure of cancer."

This PhD Program is a collaboration between Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of South Florida. The Program is located at Moffitt Cancer Center where the majority of participating faculty have their research labs, while the degree is awarded through the University.

Moffitt Cancer Center is a leading institution of basic research, clinical research and patient treatment. The center is recognized as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Moffitt is the only NCI designated cancer center based in Florida and one of only 49 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S.

University of South Florida is a large, public four-year university offering undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral level degrees. Serving more than 50,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.7 billion and is ranked 45th in the nation for research expenditures among all universities, public or private.

Structure and Growth of the Program

Since 2001 the Cancer Biology PhD Program has graduated over 60 students through a single major in cancer biology. These graduates have continued in successful cancer related careers throughout the country and world. Building on these successes and recognizing the opportunity to leverage unique strengths of Moffitt Cancer Center, the Program has expanded into three additional majors. Each of these majors has a unique innovative focus that will be key to advancing the fight against cancer. Starting in 2018 the four majors within the Program are:

    Cancer Biology

    Cancer Chemical Biology

    Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy

    Integrated Mathematical Oncology

The four majors are centrally managed and highly integrated such that students within each major will acquire a strong foundation in cancer biology in addition to focused coursework and training in the specific major. Please see the individual major pages for major-specific details and curriculum descriptions. For more information, contact the Program Administrator at

cell and molecular biology
functional genomics
drug discovery
cancer genetics

chemical biology
signal transduction
cancer prevention & control
translational cancer therapies

Students will have the opportunity to interact with premier investigators in all of these fields and select them for Ph.D. mentoring (see Faculty). Emphasis will be placed on hands-on training and students will have his or her course work tailored to their primary interest. Cancer research is a vitally important and growing field of research. Our graduates will be positioned to lead the way to the future prevention and cure of cancer.