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Diversity in Cancer Research (DICR) Post-Baccalaureate Program

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The Diversity in Cancer Research (DICR) Post - Baccalaureate Fellows Program, funded by the American Cancer Society, aims to increase diversity in the cancer workforce by increasing the number of underrepresented groups in the biomedical field. The DICR Post-Baccalaureate Fellows program is designed as a two-year cancer research experience for individuals with a bachelor’s degree who intend to pursue medical school, or a graduate degree in biomedical science, public health, or a health profession.

Program Benefits

  • Two-year program with individual development plan
  • Opportunity to perform cancer research tailored to research interests
  • Exposure to clinical oncology through clinical trial design education and supervised shadowing
  • Career development training and mentoring through academic skills workshops, career information seminars, and collaborative scientific interactions
  • Access to monthly seminars and networking sessions presented by Sylvester, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
  • Year-round professional development
  • Development of writing skills
  • Community networking through bidirectional engagement of local communities
  • Conference attendance and national networking
  • Summer schedule of career development sessions and networking events, including:
    • Mini bootcamps on understanding computational and bioinformatics approaches in oncology research
    • Workshops on academic skills, career training, graduate school, and research options
    • Fieldtrips centered around community outreach and cancer disparities
    • Interactions with Sylvester leadership
  • Competitive annual stipend and benefits

As a result of intensive research and mentorship, DICR Post-bac fellows will demonstrate enhanced knowledge, skills, and preparedness for advanced education and career opportunities in the field on oncology.


Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Undergraduate degree completed within 12 months of program start date
  • Member of a minority group that is underrepresented in science and medicine (Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander)
  • Differently abled or disadvantaged background
  • Interest in a STEM discipline
  • In good academic standing, with an overall grade point average of at least 3.0

There is no citizenship requirement for this program.

Applicants are eligible for this program if their bachelor’s degree will be awarded before the program starts (August 2024).  Fellows may not be enrolled in any course concurrent with the fellowship.



Program Mentors

Name & Academic Rank Department Cancer Research Focus

Sylvia Daunert, Pharm.D., M.S., Ph.D.


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Dr. Daunert’s lab focuses on microbiome research, including quorum sensing and the development of biosensors for QSMs, host-microbiome interactions, and investigating the mechanisms and effect of the microbiome on the on-set of cancer.

Wael El-Rifai, M.D., Ph.D.


Surgery Dr. El-Rifai's lab investigates the roles of infection, inflammation and oxidative stress in tumorigenesis for the development of therapeutic approaches target redox vulnerabilities in cancer cells.

Sophia George, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences Dr. George’s area of research is hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome. The lab uses molecular genetics, epigenetics and transcriptomics to study disease pathogenesis and overall outcome of women diagnosed with these diseases.

David Benner Lombard, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Pathology Dr. Lombard’s lab focuses on SIRT5, a protein that is dispensable in normal cells and tissues, but that plays a key pro-survival role in melanoma.

Eric Mellon, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Radiation Oncology Dr. Mellon's area of research interest is MRI-guided radiation therapy for cancer.

Matthew Schlumbrecht, M.D.


Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences Dr. Schlumbrecht’s primary area of interest is in gynecologic cancer disparities, and specifically those that impact black women and women of Afro-Caribbean descent.

Denise Vidot, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Nursing & Health Studies Dr. Vidot’s research interest focuses on the biological, psychosocial, and societal implications of cannabis/cannabinoid use across the lifespan. One of her projects aims to assess the frequency, patterns, and reasons for cannabis use among cancer patients.

Important Dates

  • Application deadline: March 15, 2024
  • Decision notification: May 1, 2024
  • Program dates:August 12, 2024

Application and Instructions

All application materials must be submitted by the application deadline.  Required materials to complete the application include:

  1. Completed online application
  2. Personal statement outlining the candidate’s research interests, experience, and/or aptitude for cancer research and how the DICR post-bac experience will help meet future goals
  3. Curriculum vitae or resume
  4. Unofficial transcript(s)
  5. Two letters of recommendation emailed to
  6. Choice of two preferred mentors from the DICR post-bac mentor list

Please combine all supporting materials (except letters of recommendation) into a single PDF and upload as part of your online application. Submit no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on March 15, 2024. Please contact us if you are unable to create a single PDF.

We will not consider incomplete applications or those submitted after the deadline.

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