​Professional and Career Advancement Sessions

Professional Advancement Sessions are organized to provide important skills to investigators at all levels, from high school students to senior faculty.

Registration and Fees

Advance registration is only required for the Personalized Career Conversations session and the Undergraduate Student Caucus and Poster Competition. Participation in all other sessions is on a first-come, first-served basis, and space is limited.

For all other Professional Advancement Sessions, membership is required; attendance is free for AACR members with your Annual Meeting registration. Nonmembers are strongly encouraged to join the AACR and take advantage of the many benefits of membership, including access to these sessions.

Professional Advancement Session Webcasts

As an additional member benefit, webcasts of selected Professional Advancement Session presentations are now available free to AACR members in good standing. Members can create a login and view presentations from the 2017 Annual Meeting. (Note: Participation in the Annual Meeting Webcast is left to the discretion of each speaker. As a result, some presentations may not be available for webcast, and some webcast presentations may not include all slides.)

Professional Advancement Sessions at the Annual Meeting 2018 


Meet the Research Icon Sessions 
Organized by the Associate Member Council (AMC)
See the Online Itinerary Planner for dates and times
These sessions are intended for early-career scientists and provide a special opportunity for young investigators to meet esteemed researchers in a small group setting to discuss their specific career paths and visions for the future of cancer research. Sessions take place in the Associate Member Resource and Career Center in AACRcentral.

Career Discussions
Organized by the Associate Member Council (AMC)
See the Online Itinerary Planner for dates and times
These informal networking and discussion sessions are designed for early-career scientists to interact with junior faculty and physician-scientists. Sessions take place in the Associate Member Resource and Career Center in AACRcentral.

Personalized Career Conversations
Co-sponsored by the Associate Member Council (AMC), Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR), and Women in Cancer Research (WICR)
Saturday, April 16, 2018; 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Register Now!  - Deadline has been extended to Monday, April 9
This session provides a unique opportunity for early-career AACR Associate Members to be paired with distinguished cancer researchers for one-on-one conversations. There is no cost to participate in this session, but preregistration is required. The link to pre-register and a list of this year’s participating senior scientists are now available.

Additional Professional Advancement Sessions 
Organized by the Associate Member Council (AMC)  

The Associate Member Council (AMC) organizes several Professional Advancement sessions aimed specifically toward the professional needs of graduate students, medical students and residents, and clinical and postdoctoral fellows. Each year the topics change to cover a broad range of interests relevant to early-career scientists. In 2018, the AMC will offer two sessions:

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10th Annual Careers in Clinical and Translational Cancer Research Roundtable  
Organized by the Clinical and Translational Cancer Research Committee
Saturday, April 14, 2018
This annual session will include a series of presentations by recognized leaders in clinical and translational cancer research, followed by informal roundtable discussions. Participating senior investigators will provide attendees with personal perspectives with regards to their own career paths in an effort to help direct aspiring clinical and translational caner researchers on successful career paths.

Navigating the Road to a Successful Career in Cancer Research  
Organized by the Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) Council
Monday, April 16, 2018; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
This session provides a forum in which students, postdoctoral candidates, and junior faculty can discuss career development issues with established senior scientists. This session includes a networking reception and mentored roundtable discussions facilitated by senior researchers representing all sectors of the cancer community, including academia, government, and industry.

WICR Professional Advancement Session 
Organized by the Women in Cancer Research (WICR) Council

Saturday, April 14, 2018; 1-3 p.m.
The WICR Professional Advancement Session provides a forum for investigators to acquire skills and techniques to enhance their careers. Participants are led by role models and through guided exercises that enable them to learn key concepts. Past topics have included: Intentional Yes and Graceful No: How to Take Charge of Your Career, Thriving in an Extroverted World, The Power of Assertiveness, The Art of Engaging in a Successful Interview, and Building Presence and Leadership through Empowered Communication.

WICR Career Mentoring Session
Organized by the Women in Cancer Research (WICR) Council

Monday, April 16, 2018; 8:15-10:15 a.m.
Following a keynote address, attendees will have the opportunity to meet, network, and learn from many of the leading senior scientists in cancer research during roundtable discussions. Topics of discussion will include work-life integration, careers in industry, choosing a postdoctoral position, oral presentations, and more.

Professional Advancement Session: The Critical Role of Physician-scientists in Advancing Cancer Science - Suggestions for Continued Success      
Organized by the AACR Science Education and Career Advancement Committee          
Friday, April 13, 2018; 5:30-7 p.m. (RSVP)

Physician-scientists serve several crucial roles by relating scientific discoveries in cancer to the clinical care of patients and/or the health of populations and vice-versa. In these roles, physician-scientists contribute to the advancement of cancer science through research, clinical care, education/mentoring, and/or administrative leadership across the course of their careers. Often they serve at crucial translational interfaces between scientific discoveries that develop into newly approved devices, drugs, or guidelines to benefit patients. Additionally, physician-scientists often serve as interpreters or translators to describe the relevance, importance, and impact of science and scientific discoveries to patients and the broader public.

As grant funding opportunities narrow, physician-scientists’ competitiveness versus “scientifically-focused” colleagues can be threatened. Similarly, as fiscal margins associated with cancer care come under greater pressure due to numerous internal and external forces (e.g., narrowing insurance networks, rising costs of cancer care, growing use of EHRs), physician-scientists come under increasing pressure to care for larger numbers of patients of greater complexity and often placing additional restrictions on time.

This session will explore the critical role of physician-scientists, and strategies for their continued success in the face of increasing competitiveness in all domains of their professional service – scientific, clinical, educational, and administrative. Panelists include Wafik S. El-Deiry, MD, PhD, FACP, Fox Chase Cancer Center; Levi A. Garraway, MD, PhD, Eli Lilly and Company; and, Lifang Hou, MD, PhD, Northwestern University.  (Panelist Bios)

13th Annual Undergraduate Student Caucus and Poster Competition  
Professional Advancement Session
Organized by the AACR Science Education and Career Advancement Committee

Saturday, April 14, 2018; 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
With over 200 undergraduate student participants every year, the Undergraduate Student Caucus Poster Competition continues to be the premier event for undergraduate students attending the AACR Annual Meeting. Now in its thirteenth year, this session gives undergraduates the opportunity to learn more about current research in the cancer field, hear from investigators about educational pathways and career development, explore career options in the cancer field, and compete for monetary prizes while presenting research. Undergraduates at all levels as well as post-baccalaureate students are welcome to participate without cost. AACR members are encouraged to volunteer as judges.

Meet the Mentor: Undergraduate Focus I and II
Organized by the AACR Career Development Committee
Sunday, April 15, 2018, 3:45-4:45 p.m.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018; 2:30-3:30 p.m.
These sessions feature esteemed senior scientists who will engage undergraduate students in informal discussions about cancer research. Sessions are intended to help guide students in their educational pursuit of establishing a career in cancer research. All undergraduate student attendees at the Annual Meeting are encouraged to participate.

Special Program for High School Students: The Conquest of Cancer and the Next Generation of Cancer Researchers     
Organized by the AACR Career Development Committee
Tuesday, April 17, 2018; 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
This interactive program is designed to inspire students to pursue careers in cancer research and biomedical sciences by providing an opportunity for Students to learn about cancer from cancer research experts while interacting with their peers. The program includes lectures, tours of the exhibits and poster areas, student presentations, and a networking lunch. AACR members are encouraged to volunteer as judges.

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