Skip to Main Content

Program Overview

We are continuing to build an inspiring community of transdisciplinary (TD) researchers in energetics and cancer and invite you to apply to our mentored energy balance and cancer education program: the Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC) Training Workshop. Funded by a five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute, this unique educational program is positioned to build capacity in transdisciplinary energy balance and cancer research. The TREC Training Workshop is designed for junior faculty and post-doctoral fellows—primarily individuals in early careers who want to pursue TD research in energy balance and cancer. This Workshop places strong emphasis on mentoring, developing and applying TD competencies, and a curriculum specifically focused on energetics and cancer. Mentors and teaching faculty represent a diverse array of professional disciplines, from basic scientists to clinicians to behavioral and population scientists and many others. Our in-person Training Workshop integrates didactic presentations and professional networking across senior and early career scientists, utilizing formal learning with informal transdisciplinary collaboration. Time is included for one-on-one dialog between fellows and faculty as well as small group discussions that allow fellows to learn from each other and develop a network. Following on-site training, fellows engage in sustained mentoring relationships with course faculty and peers who are TREC Workshop alumni. Fellows have access to prior and future cohorts to facilitate networking opportunities. See the course curriculum here.

History of the TREC Training Workshop

The Workshop arose from and builds upon the NCI TREC Centers Initiative, which was a major scientific research effort that occurred from 2005 to 2016 and covered topics across the cancer control continuum, including prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. The TREC Centers mission was to integrate diverse disciplines to unravel obesity-cancer biology and to find effective interventions across the lifespan to reduce the burden of obesity and cancer and to improve population health. Specifically, eight institutions and a coordinating center were awarded TREC Center grants that supported approximately 30 studies focused on energy balance and cancer. TREC was successful in a number of ways, but its primary successes were the building of transdisciplinary teams to better understand and intervene upon the association of obesity and cancer, and to engage and inspire the next generation of scientists to embrace transdisciplinary research in energetics and cancer. Funding for the TREC Centers Initiative ceased in 2016, however our goal with the TREC Workshop is to continue to further the TREC mission by training scientists and clinicians in transdisciplinary research in energy balance and cancer. This Workshop, led by Melinda Irwin, PhD, MPH (TREC Director of Training and Education from 2005-2016 and PI of the TREC Workshop) and a Senior Advisory Board, includes a transdisciplinary team of approximately 20 expert faculty members from diverse backgrounds, bringing together complementary skills and expertise in TREC-related research, mentoring and training. Our Workshop is highly innovative as currently no other training opportunity, course, or workshop exists that focuses on energetics and cancer. The TREC Workshop provides state-of-the-art, evidence-based energetics and cancer education, mentoring and training. Participants also work with faculty on establishing research priorities and develop studies that will fill key gaps in energy balance and cancer research. The overall impact of the Workshop is based on the degree to which participants obtain funding and publish innovative and translational research discoveries that ultimately improves the health of the population at risk for cancer as well as cancer survivors.


TREC Training Workshop fellows are appointed for a one-year term, beginning with the week-long in-person Training Workshop followed by 12-months of mentored guidance by a course faculty member and a fellow alumni peer mentor. Fellows join a scholarly network of peer fellows, course faculty, and investigators from the prior TREC initiative. Through this experience and via connections with the wider community of TREC-inspired researchers, fellows develop their own transdisciplinary expertise and increased scholarly output in TD science in energetics and cancer. Each fellow receives:
  • One-week, on-site training at the Water’s Edge Resort in Westbrook, Connecticut - a partner satellite conference venue with Yale University
  • Travel to and accommodations at the Training Workshop are provided
  • Long-distance, mentoring with an expert TREC researcher who serves as faculty with the TREC Training Workshop to help craft a competitive research proposal in transdisciplinary research in energetics and cancer
  • Long-distance peer mentoring with a TREC fellow alumni
  • Networking with other fellows and faculty to produce scholarly products

The Next TREC Training Workshop

The 2021 cohort will be enrolled in the program from June 2021-May 2022. Their attendance at the in-person Training Workshop will be from June 20-25, 2021.

Application Process

Acceptance into the TREC program is competitive. Eligible candidates are encouraged to apply. Applications for the 2021 cohort are open.

This is a meeting unlike any other. Allows many opportunities for networking and collaboration. Highly recommend!


Caliber of faculty & fellows = amazing week of high-quality science, networking, career advice, collaboration!


The TREC Workshop was phenomenal. The opportunity to be in a small group setting with such important thought leaders in the field of energy balance was unique and invaluable. The curriculum was well-thought out and balanced, covering all components of this transdisciplinary field. There was also plenty of time for informal networking and brainstorming.


This training and networking was awesome! There was clearly a cumulative effect of 6 days together.