grated research programs, each headed by a principal investigator. Additionally, research training was to be an important part of all programs at the Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine and especially for the Program in Molecular Oncology. It was to have its own training director with responsibility for developing a cohesive program, and for integrating the Program’s students with fellows of other programs in the center and other departments in the medical school.
An important goal of the Program was to have clinical fellows with an interest in cancer spend approximately one year learning advanced research techniques that will have later application in a clinical setting. The Markey funds were intended to support 10 predoctoral candidates and 10 postdoctoral fellows over the five-year term. In fact, 7 postdoctoral and 14 predoctoral fellows received support from Markey funding. However, staff at the Program in Molecular Biology were unable to provide data on the identities and current locations of these fellows. Site visit members were told that four young faculty were supported by Markey funds—Dr. Glazer, Dr. Stein, Dr. Xu, and Dr. Fearson.
It was hoped that the Program in Molecular Oncology would become the “molecular research arm” of the Yale Cancer Center. However, with the arrival of a new Director, the Yale Cancer Center also took on molecular oncology, which directly competed with the Boyer Center’s Program. Therefore, the Program now has a new focus in development and space has been reallocated away from oncology.
The site visit team had the opportunity to meet with two young faculty who were recruited with Markey funds. Peter Glazer, who was the third faculty recruit into the Program was offered a large start-up package with equipment and supplies. This package allowed him to explore new directions in his research in developing gene-targeted drugs, research that he described as initially “risky” (his original NIH application was not funded) but which now has attracted external support. Although his clinical department paid his salary, Markey funds paid for 50% of his secretary and supported a postdoc for 12 months until an independent NRSA fellowship was obtained.
Tian Xu came to the Boyer Center from the University of California, Berkley, as a postdoctoral fellow in 1993. Although he was offered an HHMI fellowship at that time, the Boyer Center provided larger lab space and more equipment than most junior faculty received. Markey funds paid for five years of his salary, a postdoctoral student, and a lab technician. He became a Hughes Investigator in 1997. Similar to Dr. Glazer, Dr. Xu also believed that this support provided him with the opportunity to pursue more “risky” research. Dr. Xu is certainly a rising star. His science is extremely impressive so use of Markey funds in his recruitment was well worth the investment.