Job Description
Duke Cancer Institute is pleased to accept applications for the DIRECT program. DIRECT is a 12-month applied cancer training program for recent minority university graduates with an interest in entering the cancer research workforce. The program will focus on experiential learning and mentoring in the following key areas:

  • Cancer research
  • Professional development
  • Science communication

Our vision is to create a cancer research workforce that is diverse, innovative, and impactful.

DIRECT Program Goal: To build a robust, sustainable, and replicable program that eliminates barriers for minority trainees and promotes equity in the cancer research workforce by providing mentoring and training focused on cancer research, professional development, and science communication.

Program Components: 

  1. Research experience & critical thinking. Fellows will engage in mentored, applied research experiences to prepare for rigorous scientific research at the graduate level
  2. Professional Development. Fellows will receive training in networking, career development, and peer mentoring
  3. Science Communication. Fellows will be mentored in scientific writing, peer-reviewed publications, and presentation at scientific conferences

DIRECT Program Eligibility Criteria: 

Candidates must have a record of superior academic achievement (e.g., grade point average, honors, or other designation), have received a bachelor’s degree by June 2023, AND meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Come from a background that is underrepresented in graduate study in your discipline
  • Have demonstrated a sustained commitment to diversity through work experience, volunteer engagement, or leadership of student or community organizations. A commitment to diversity may include efforts to reduce health, social, educational or economic disparities by race, ethnicity or gender
  • Have experienced financial hardship as a result of family economic circumstances
  • Be a first-generation U.S. citizen or first generation in your family to graduate from a four-year college

Stipend and Benefits: 

DIRECT provides a full-time, 12-month experiential learning program in cancer research. Fellows will be employed at Duke University as Research Interns and receive a monthly stipend with full medical benefits.  Anticipated program Start Date: July 17, 2023.


Our mentor team consists of cancer researchers with specific expertise in providing mentored research experiences and career development training for undergraduate and graduate students. Mentors include:

Dr. Tomi Akinyemiju, Associate Professor, Dept of Population Health Sciences and Duke Cancer Institute
Dr. Meira Epplein, Associate Professor, Dept of Population Health Sciences and Duke Cancer Institute
Dr. Jason Somarelli, Assistant Professor, Dept of Medicine and Duke Cancer Institute

Apply here and upload the following documents to this application:

  1. Resume/CV
  2. Most recent official or unofficial college transcript
  3. Diversity statement – this one-page document should provide a description of how your past efforts and current interests will contribute to a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Duke
  4. Letter of interest – this one-page document should describe your interest in cancer research and how further training and mentoring can help you achieve your career goals in this area
  5. Name and email address of one reference

Deadline for application is March 1, 2023.  Please have these documents available as they must be uploaded at the time of the application.

About Duke University School of Medicine

Established in 1930, Duke University School of Medicine is the youngest of the nation’s top medical schools. Ranked tenth among its peers, the School takes pride in being an inclusive community of outstanding learners, investigators, clinicians, and staff where traditional barriers are low, interdisciplinary collaboration is embraced, and great ideas accelerate translation of fundamental scientific discoveries to improve human health locally and around the globe.

Comprised of 2,400 faculty physicians and researchers, the Duke University School of Medicine along with the Duke University School of Nursing and Duke University Health System create Duke Health. Duke Health is a world-class health care network. Founded in 1998 to provide efficient, responsive care, the health system offers a full network of health services and encompasses Duke University Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital, Duke Raleigh Hospital, Duke Primary Care, Private Diagnostic Clinic, Duke Home and Hospice, Duke Health and Wellness, and multiple affiliations.