Director’s message

Dear Reader,

The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center embodies all of the elements that make a world-class cancer program. It’s ground zero for the basic research that fuels innovation in diagnosis and treatment. It’s the training ground for bright, aspiring scientists. It’s the hub for advanced clinical research, bringing novel and leading-edge diagnostics and therapies to patients. And it’s the safety net guiding patients with meaningful support through their cancer journeys.

This issue of Synthesis illustrates each of these missions. In it you will read about groundbreaking genomics research that is pinpointing why Latinos suffer disproportionately from gastric cancer. And we take a long look at exciting projects and novel research to improve outcomes for patients with the most common — and most aggressive — brain cancer, glioblastoma.

Our cover story will introduce you to CURE, a program that brings underrepresented undergraduate students into our laboratories for mentorship and learning. CURE’s hands-on approach has ignited science careers, many of them in the area of cancer research. Our story introduces you to two aspiring cancer researchers — both the first in their families to attend college.

Because cancer diagnoses and treatment regimens can be significantly arduous and complex, particularly those for acute blood cancers, our cancer center has specially trained nurse navigators who ensure that patients and their families have what they need throughout their journey, everything from education to transportation, appointment coordination and communication with referring physicians and hospitals. You will meet our navigators and one of their grateful patients in this issue.

We hope you enjoy these and other stories in this edition of Synthesis. If you have suggestions for future editions, please contact our editor, Dorsey Griffith, at