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Vanderbilt Education Research and Training in Cancer and Leadership (VERTICAL) Program

The VERTICAL Program at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center provides a unique training experience that builds upon Vanderbilt's extraordinary record of research, training, and fostering diversity in biomedical science with the goal of promoting a pathway to cancer research and medicine careers for post-baccalaureate fellows who are underrepresented in science and medicine (URM). The program’s specific objectives are to provide:

  1. Mentored research experiences for URM individuals with bachelor’s degrees
  2. A robust and individualized curriculum to support participants in acquiring the knowledge and skills to pursue higher education leading to future careers in cancer research or medicine
  3. Opportunities for community engagement to support a community of practice

VERTICAL fellows participate in an in-person, 2-year program of mentored basic, clinical/translational, and/or population science cancer research, cancer education, professional development, and community outreach activities. The overall program activities are individually tailored to meet the needs of each VERTICAL fellow:



About the VERTICAL Program

Leveraging the strengths of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, this paid program will immerse you in a research laboratory for 2 years working with a Vanderbilt faculty member on a cutting-edge cancer research project.

Participants will receive a stipend and benefits. Through this program you will gain the knowledge, skills, and community to further your career in cancer research or medicine.

In addition to your research, fellows will participate in:

  • Responsible Conduct in Research training
  • Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP) coursework
  • Individualized research development plan
  • Introduction to Cancer Biology course
  • Clinical Cancer Medicine course
  • GRE or MCAT preparatory course
  • Meharry Medical College (MMC)-Vanderbilt-Tennessee State University (TSU) Cancer Partnership (MVTCP) online modules
  • Cancer Biology Science Hour presentation
  • VICC Annual Scientific Retreat, MVTCP retreat, and other retreats
  • National/International scientific conferences
  • Career Path Lunch & Learn Sessions
  • Online resources from VU, Nature, and the NIH
  • URM program student mentorship
  • Science & Community Impact Talks
  • Volunteer opportunities


Eligible candidates for the VERTICAL program will be:

  • Individuals with bachelor’s degrees from nationally accredited colleges or universities who desire to pursue doctoral degrees and careers in science or medicine, with a focus on cancer.
  • Able to commit to the full-time, 2-year program which runs from August 2023 – August 2025 in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • From backgrounds underrepresented in the sciences (i.e., racial or ethnic minority, low-income, living in a rural community, first-generation college-bound, and/or living with a disability).
  • Individuals who are interested in pursuing doctoral degrees and careers in science or medicine, with a focus on cancer, will benefit most from the program.

Please submit the following materials as part of the application here by May 1, 2023, at 11:59 pm CST.

  • One-page statement of interest
  • Copy of college transcript (does not need to be official)
  • Two letters of recommendation from prior educators and/or employers

All program questions should be directed to