Dr. Sarah Amend and her colleagues are happy to present this work for your lab, department, institute, conference, or student group. Contact her directly to set up scheduling and keep an eye out for seminar notices in your department.


Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Topics in Interdisciplinary Medicine (TIME) – Cancer
Instructor: Sarah Amend, Ph.D.
Small group: Cancer Ecology

For more than a century, scientists have sought to describe and explain the fundamental steps of lethal metastasis, from initial emergence of a tumor to the death of a patient from widespread metastatic disease. Cancer progression within a healthy patient has striking parallels to many established ecological paradigms. Applying an ecological framework provides a deeper understanding of the metastasis problem on multiple scales, from the tumor microenvironment, to widespread dispersal of individual cells, to the ultimate ecosystem collapse – death of the patient. We will explore ecological paradigms (including ecosystem engineering, optimal foraging theory, restoration ecology, and adaptive therapy) that can be applied to cancer to better understand the steps of metastasis and to identify possible therapeutic strategies.

An intensive and highly interactive discussion-based short course.
Students will deeply engage with the subject matter and lead a discussion of their peers to explore and challenge these paradigms.

My Cancer Ecology small group is easily the best TIME course small group I’ve had in three years here. It was so thought-provoking and demonstrates what I really hope to do with my career, which is come up with a new thought paradigm for an existing problem. It was so multidisciplinary and such a different way to think about cancer from anything we’ve covered in the MD curriculum so far. Absolutely fascinating and I would highly recommend it to any student.

Online learning

Led by Dr. Pienta, Dr. Sarah Amend and other members of the team created three MOOCs to help you learn about the biology of cancer. All courses are available free of charge. For a fee, you can earn a certificate which can be listed on your resume or CV.