Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Announces First-of-Its-Kind Cancer Engineering PhD Program

Students in the Cancer Engineering program will advance their research with support from state-of-the art core facilities including the Radiochemistry and Molecular Imaging Probes core.

The Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSK) at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) today announced The Pat and Ian Cook Doctoral Program in Cancer Engineering, made possible by a generous gift of $15 million from Pat and Ian Cook.

This visionary new PhD program allows MSK to substantially expand its commitment to train the next generation of scientists. Cancer engineering is a new discipline emerging from major advances in biology and technology. The first-of-its-kind PhD program will give aspiring researchers the opportunity to study with world-renowned MSK faculty on the front lines of cancer science and develop new technologies to better understand, diagnose, and treat cancer. The program welcomes students from a variety of academic backgrounds, including those with an engineering or a physical science focus.

The Cook PhD in Cancer Engineering program will train students to build technologies that will improve cancer detection and therapies, and to engineer new tools to accelerate discovery in cancer biology — from cancer models to engineered cells to molecular imaging probes. MSK’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSK) offers a unique concentration that teaches cancer biology combined with advanced courses in computation, cell and genetic engineering, radioimaging, nanotechnology, and other engineering fields. Students will also have unparalleled access to cutting-edge engineering and biology tools and core facilities.

“This innovative, first-of-its-kind program offers a rare opportunity for promising engineers to gain a deep understanding of cancer biology and leverage it to develop tools to solve problems in the lab and the clinic,” said Michael Overholtzer, PhD, Dean of GSK. “Because the program is connected to one of the top cancer centers in the world, students in the new program will have the privilege of seeing their innovative engineering lab work translate into real-world impact. We are grateful to Pat and Ian Cook for their continued commitment to nurture the next generation of leaders in cancer science.”

Professor and biomedical engineer Daniel Heller, PhD, Head of the Cancer Nanotechnology Laboratory, and professor and bioengineer Kayvan Keshari, PhD, Fred Lebow Chair at MSK, will serve as Co-Directors of The Cook PhD in Cancer Engineering program. As part of the new program, students will join one of MSK’s 130 laboratories, where they will investigate cancer science through basic, clinical, and translational research.

Ian Cook is Chair of the Memorial Hospital Board and has been a member of MSK’s Board of Trustees since 2012. He currently serves as the Vice Chair of the MSK Board of Trustees. He and his wife, Pat, are deeply committed to ensuring that MSK remains a leader in educating tomorrow’s scientists, a central pillar of MSK’s mission to end cancer for life. “We are excited about the potential of cancer engineering to save lives, and we have confidence that MSK has the talent and infrastructure to continue to lead the field,” said Pat Cook. “MSK graduates will go on to develop technologies that we can’t even imagine today and develop new cures and diagnostics that will save lives,” added Ian Cook.

The Cook PhD in Cancer Engineering joins another elite program at Gerstner Sloan Kettering’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSK). Since 2006, GSK has trained aspiring scientists through a unique Cancer Biology Graduate Program. Now these two programs in cancer biology and cancer engineering will offer robust training that will propel future cancer discoveries.

For more information about The Cook PhD in Cancer Engineering program and to apply, visit

For more information about GSK, visit

Annik Allen
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