Fox Chase-Russian Institute Affiliations

Erica A. Golemis, PhD 
Co-Chair, Supervisory Committee
Glenn F Rall, PhD , Co-Chair, Supervisory Committee
Olga Favorova, PhD, DrSci, Co-Chair, Russian State Medical University, Moscow
Edna Cukierman, PhD , Committee Member
Roland L Dunbrack, Jr, PhD , Committee Member
Dietmar J Kappes, PhD , Committee Member
Vladimir Kolenko, MD, PhD , Committee Member
Ilya G. Serebriiskii, PhD, Student Liaison, Committee Member

In 1998, the Institute for Cancer Research, Fox Chase Cancer Center, embarked on a novel partnership with the Russian State Medical University (RSMU) in Moscow to provide training at our Center for RSMU Masters and PhD. level students. This partnership, originally conceived by Erica Golemis, Professor, Deputy Scientific Officer, ICR/FCCC and Olga Favorova, Professor of Molecular Biology at RSMU, has provided internship opportunities for 36 RSMU students over these past years. With each passing year, the program has expanded to include not only more students, but also more affiliations with premier Russian research institutions. 

Despite the growing number of sister institutions, the matching and oversight processes are essentially the same: enthusiastic and talented students are selected by professors at the Russian institute; these students then select potential mentors at our Center based on common research interests. Final matches are made by the Supervisory Committee at our institution. 

Students typically intern at ICR/FCCC for approximately 15 months, although a number of them have elected to continue their studies and pursue their PhD research in the host laboratory.

Soon after the students’ arrival at our institution, an Advisory Committee is formed for each student, consisting of their mentor and at least two other faculty members with similar research interests. These committees meet with the student twice a year to provide research guidance and to afford the student an opportunity to present their work throughout the internship. Each Advisory committee reports back to the Supervisory Committee. 

The success of the initial Partner Program with Prof. Favorova and RSMU allowed for associations to be established with other high-quality institutions in Russia. A program sponsored by ICR/FCCC and Moscow Engineering Physical Institute (MEPI) provides up to two students per year an opportunity to acquire skills in bioinformatics, software design, and protein modeling. Affiliations with Smolensk State Medical Academy (SSMA) and Kazan Federal University proved to be very fruitful in the past four years, and nine students have already benefited from this partnership. We are also currently evaluating other institutions as prospective partners, including Novosibirsk and St. Petersburg State Technical Universities. Several “pilot” students from these institutions are currently doing research at Fox Chase.

In addition to students’ training, the program provided an opportunity for several exchange visitors to work at FCCC, resulting in the collaborative research publication. FCCC faculty also gives yearly classes at RSMU, and in the recent years we have extended this to St. Petersburg and Kazan Universities.

Currently, eleven students are working in research laboratories at Fox Chase, pursuing their PhD degrees. Of the 56 students who have completed their internships, all have elected to further their education in biomedical research, and many of these students have gone on to PhD programs in the U.S., Europe or Russia. Collectively, these students have contributed to over thirty peer-reviewed manuscripts, and have presented their work at multiple international meetings. We anticipate that the number of students and Fox Chase faculty who will benefit from this program will continue to increase.