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Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Awarded $1.6M for Rutgers Youth Enjoy Science (RUYES) Program for Underrepresented Youth and Educators

Mon, 10/12/2020 - 08:00
young black girl at science lab bench

New Brunswick, N.J., October 12, 2020 – Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has received a $1.6 million, five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute (1R25CA247785-0) to support the Rutgers Youth Enjoy Science (RUYES) Program. RUYES seeks to increase the diversity of the biomedical, cancer research workforce in order to reduce cancer disparities in both New Jersey and across the United States. This program utilizes innovative approaches and newly established partnerships both within Rutgers and in the surrounding community to provide RUYES participants a comprehensive learning experience in cancer research, career development, and community engagement.

Expanding upon the Continuing Umbrella for Research Education (CURE) Program, RUYES engages underrepresented minority undergraduate and high school students in cutting-edge cancer research, curriculum support, and professional development activities for 10 weeks per summer for two consecutive years at Rutgers Cancer Institute. Additionally, teachers from schools with students from underrepresented backgrounds will engage in basic, clinical, or population-based cancer research for eight weeks during two consecutive summers and receive support in designing innovative curricula to take back to their classrooms. Cancer related outreach activities will also connect program participants with schools and families in their communities.

Sunita Chaudhary
Sunita Chaudhary, PhD

“We are very enthusiastic about this funding mechanism as it strengthens our commitment to nurturing and mentoring youth from underrepresented backgrounds. Through the RUYES program, we leverage the robust educational and outreach resources of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey to successfully train the next generation of a diverse cancer research and healthcare workforce,” noted Sunita Chaudhary, PhD, director of research education at Rutgers Cancer Institute and leader of the program. “Hands-on learning opportunities in a unique environment such as the Rutgers Cancer Institute often fuel a great desire in these students to pursue a career in an area they never could have imagined just by reading a text book alone. And while teachers undergo continual training throughout the course of a career, an opportunity to engage directly with our scientists and bring that education back to their classrooms can also spark student interest in these areas in ways that aren’t traditionally seen,” adds Dr. Chaudhary, the grant’s principal investigator. 

An Advisory Committee including members selected for their backgrounds and experience in high school and undergraduate education, cancer disparities, community outreach and/or diversity initiatives will support the RUYES program. Co-investigators on the grant include other Rutgers University faculty: Renee Edwards, PhD; Patricia Irizarry, PhD; Rita Musanti, PhD, ANP-BC; Laura E. Liang, DrPH, CHES, CPH; and David Shernoff, PhD.

For additional information, visit the program overview page.


About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rutgers Cancer Institute, together with RWJBarnabas Health, offers the most advanced cancer treatment options including bone marrow transplantation, proton therapy, CAR T-cell therapy and complex surgical procedures.  Along with clinical trials and novel therapeutics such as precision medicine and immunotherapy – many of which are not widely available – patients have access to these cutting-edge therapies at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital in Newark, as well as through RWJBarnabas Health facilities. To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 848-932-8013 or visit




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