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Professional and Career Advancement Sessions

The AACR is dedicated to the education, training, and professional development of cancer research investigators and the Professional Advancement Series Sessions are an integral part of the AACR Annual Meeting experience. Organized as a collaborative effort by the AACR Science Education and Career Advancement Committee, Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) Council, Women in Cancer Research (WICR) Council, and Associate Member Council (AMC), these exciting sessions are available to Annual Meeting registrants who are AACR members free of charge and provide important skills to investigators at all stages in their careers. 

2023 Professional Advancement Series Sessions

Several exciting and interactive Professional Advancement sessions will take place during the in-person AACR Annual Meeting 2023, including one-on-one personal time with esteemed cancer researchers to discuss science and obtain career advice, intimate roundtable discussions on specific topics facilitated by leaders from various sectors, timely panel discussion sessions offering important insights on critical topics to investigators at all stages in their careers. Professional Advancement Sessions to be held at the Annual Meeting 2023 will be announced in the new year!

Past Professional Advancement Sessions

The Do’s and Don’ts for Graduate and Professional Students in Cancer research

In recognition of Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week (April 4 – 8, 2022), this session addressed important strategies and skills that graduate students need to have a successful career in cancer research.


This session aimed to provide new investigators (postdoctoral fellows and new faculty) with practical tools to write competitive grants. Focus was placed on how to write when writing isn’t your top skill-set (or even if you hate writing), how to structure an aims page to make help the reviewer “get” all the information you want them to “get” and also to help them think you are well organized and smart, and how to write an aims page that makes a reviewer excited about your grant. Preregistration was required to participate in this session. 

Annual Undergraduate Student Caucus and Poster Competition

With more than 200 undergraduate student participants every year, the Undergraduate Student Caucus Poster Competition continued to be the premier event for undergraduate students attending the AACR Annual Meeting. This session gave 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.

Personalized Career Conversations

This session provided a unique opportunity for early-career AACR Associate members to participate in 15-minute one-on-one conversations with two distinguished cancer researchers from across various sectors—including academia, government, and industry. Participants also had the opportunity to informally network with peers and members of the organizing groups to gain additional perspectives about various career topics. Preregistration was required to participate in this session.

How to Design a Successful Career Path in Cancer Research: The Do’s and Don’ts for Early-Stage Investigators

This session was intended for early-stage investigators to acquire skills and develop key strategies in order to avoid “pitfalls” and develop “alternative” tactics to enhance the probability of success in their first independent leadership position. We recruited an expert panel of established investigators with invaluable experience on “how to” navigate a successful career in cancer research. This session was designed specifically for those who have already made the transition from trainee to the next career stage inside and outside of academia.

Productive Peer Review: Improving Science while Avoiding Pitfalls

This interactive session was moderated by Chi Van Dang, Editor-in-Chief for Cancer Research, and Christine Lovly, Scientific Editor for Cancer Discovery, and focused on how to become a proficient reviewer and how to respond effectively to reviewers’ comments. Preregistration was required to participate in this session.

Navigating the Path to a Successful Career in Cancer Research

This exciting collaborative roundtable session and networking reception provided a forum in which students, early-career researchers, and early-stage investigators could discuss critical career development topics and survival skills with established researchers from a variety of sectors, including academia, government, and industry.

Building an Effective Mentorship Team: Essential Strategies at Every Stage in Your Career

This session featured cancer researchers with a strong commitment to mentoring and supporting the professional development of cancer research investigators. Participants learned how to build and take full advantage of an effective mentoring team.

Additional Career Advancement Opportunities 

Career Discussions 

These informal networking and discussion sessions are designed for early-career researchers to interact with recently transitioned physician-scientist and junior faculty/equivalent peers around various career topics such as “Building a Successful Lab Research Lab and Negotiating Your First Academic Salary.”