High School Internship Program in Integrated Mathematical Oncology (HIP IMO): Five-Year Experience at Moffitt Cancer Center

Abstract

Modern cancer research, and the wealth of data across multiple spatial and temporal scales, has created the need for researchers that are well versed in the life sciences (cancer biology, developmental biology, immunology), medical sciences (oncology) and natural sciences (mathematics, physics, engineering, computer sciences). College undergraduate education traditionally occurs in disciplinary silos, which creates a steep learning curve at the graduate and postdoctoral levels that increasingly bridge multiple disciplines. Numerous colleges have begun to embrace interdisciplinary curricula, but students who double major in mathematics (or other quantitative sciences) and biology (or medicine) remain scarce. We identified the need to educate junior and senior high school students about integrating mathematical and biological skills, through the lens of mathematical oncology, to better prepare students for future careers at the interdisciplinary interface. The High school Internship Program in Integrated Mathematical Oncology (HIP IMO) at Moffitt Cancer Center has so far trained 59 students between 2015 and 2019. We report here on the program structure, training deliverables, curriculum and outcomes. We hope to promote interdisciplinary educational activities early in a student’s career.

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Acknowledgements

HIP IMO is supported by NIH/NCI U54CA143970-05 (Physical Science Oncology Network) “Cancer as a complex adaptive system.” HIP IMO scholars are generously supported by the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation. In-kind support is provided by the West Wing Hotel and the Museum of Sciences and Industry (MOSI). HIP IMO is grateful to Mehdi Damaghi, Asmaa El-Kenawi, Prabakaran Soundararajan, Dung-Tsa Chao, Michal Tomaszewski, Mark Robertson-Tessi for teaching HIP IMO boot camps and classes and the dedicated student and postdoctoral mentors for HIP IMO scholars (Etienne Baratchart, Renee Brady-Nicholls, Rafael Bravo, Ibrahim M. Chamseddine, Andrew Dhawan, Bina Desai, Meghan Ferrall-Fairbanks, Jill Gallaher, Daniel Glazar, Chandler Gatenbee, Rachel Howard, Aleksandra Karolak, Eunjung Kim, Gregory Kimmel, Anna Miller, Rafael Renatino Canevarolo, Jacob Scott, Praneeth Sudalagunta, Enakshi Sunassee, Robert Vander Velde, Jeffrey West, Mohammad Zahid). The authors are thankful to Daniel Glazar and Stefano Pasetto for statistical analysis of HIP IMO survey results. HIP IMO is especially thankful to Danae Paris for administrating the program, and support from the HCPS superintendent Jeff Eakins, HCPS Director for K-12 STEM Education Larry R. Plank, as well as Moffitt PSOC patient advocates Jeri Francoeur and Robert Butler. HIP IMO could not fully function without the critical infrastructure support from MCC and its continued commitment to educating the next generation of scientists.

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Correspondence to Heiko Enderling.

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Enderling, H., Altrock, P.M., Andor, N. et al. High School Internship Program in Integrated Mathematical Oncology (HIP IMO): Five-Year Experience at Moffitt Cancer Center. Bull Math Biol 82, 91 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11538-020-00768-1

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Keywords

  • Mathematical modeling
  • Education
  • High school
  • Cancer
  • Oncology
  • Interdisciplinary