Trainee Associate Member Program

The Cancer Research Training and Education Coordination (CRTEC) Core of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) created the Trainee Associate Membership program to promote the interests of trainees in cancer across all of Columbia University who are being mentored by HICCC members.

As a Trainee Associate Member, you will have access to a community of cancer trainees and mentors, pilot grants, seminar series and educational events, career development opportunities, and more.

Trainees who conduct cancer-related research under the mentorship of an HICCC member(s) and belong to one of the following groups are eligible for membership: 

  • Graduate students enrolled in PhD, DrPH, MD, MS/PhD, or MD/PhD programs who have commited to cancer research for their thesis.
  • Medical students must have committed to cancer research for their scholarly project or research year.
  • Postdoctoral research fellows and postdoctoral research scientists.
  • Postdoctoral residency fellows and postdoctoral clinical fellows in oncology-related clinical training.
  • Associate research scientists who are on track for a faculty level position in academia or industry.

Members are admitted twice a year by a standing selection committee. Membership term will be for two years and subject to annual review to determine good standing. Membership can be extended for two additional years for a total of 4 years maximum. 

Read below to learn more about more benefits of the program.

Benefits of the Trainee Associate Member Program

  • Funding Opportunites. TAM members can apply for the following awards and grants. Please note that trainees are limited to two TAM awards/grants per two-year membership term and may only receive the same award/grant once per two-year membership term. 
    • Predoctoral Pilot Grants. Graduate students can compete for Predoctoral Pilot Grants with a value of $5,000 each. Up to three grants will be awarded annually. Example application here.
    • Postdoctoral Pilot Grants. Postdoctoral students, residents/fellows and associate research scientists can compete for Postdoctoral Pilot Grants with a value of $10,000 each. Up to five grants will be awarded annually. Example application here.
    • Travel Awards. Trainee Associate Members will be eligible for travel awards with a value of up to $1,000 each to be applied to costs related to attendance at a meeting at which the trainee is giving either a poster or platform presentation. Until travel restrictions are eased, travel awards may be applied to virtual conferences.  Apply here.
    • Paper(s) of the Year. Publications will be selected based on scientific merit and impact. Awardees will receive a salary bonus of $500. Up to six awards will be given annually.  
  • HICCC-branded Merchandise. All Trainee Associate Members will receive HICCC-branded items.  
  • Trainee Associate Member Symposium. Trainee Associate Members will be expected to participate, as speakers or to present posters, at an annual one-day HICCC-hosted symposium.
  • Career Networking Events. Members will be invited to attend career networking events. These events will include panel discussions on career paths by scientists in the tristate area, along with leaders in industry, business, science communication, education, science philanthropy, and policy. Following the panel discussions, trainees will be invited to mingle with the panelists.  
  • Lunches with Distinguished Speakers. Trainee Associate Members will be given priority to have lunch with speakers from HICCC’s Distinguished Speaker Seminar Series.  
  • Training Opportunities. Trainees will have increased access to seminars and short courses for grant and manuscript preparation, cancer biology education and for career development.  
  • Career Counseling. Trainees will be offered at least one half-hour session per semester for career counseling with either the Director or Assistant Director of the CRTEC. To set up an appointment, select which CRTEC leader best fits your needs and email them directly:
    • Katherine Crew, MD, MS, is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology who cares for patients with breast cancer and women at high-risk for breast cancer. Her research focuses on breast cancer risk assessment, genetic testing, screening, prevention and survivorship. She conducts both observational studies and clinical trials on modifiable biomarkers of breast cancer risk (
    • Jasmine McDonald, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology who researches the underlying mechanisms of disease etiology with a focus on breast cancer etiology and risk reduction. She has expertise in molecular epidemiology,  lifecourse epidemiology, longitudinal study designs, and examining the role of environmental exposures on health.  She is also an active community educator (
    • If unsure, email Marian LaForest ( and she will advise your selection. 
  • Trainee Associate Members Resources. The HICCC website highlight special events and opportunities for Trainee Associate Members and trainee research accomplishments and news. Trainee Associate Members also receive a weekly newsletter with funding opportunities, events, and more. Trainee Associate Members will also be featured in HICCC member communications.