Children's Cancer Therapy Development Institute

2024 Pediatric Cancer Nanocourse

Registration is currently closed.

August 12-16, 2024 at the Portland area cc-TDI Lab

What is a nanocourse, anyway?

nanocourse is a dynamic approach to teaching advanced scientific topics in a condensed fashion. Put simply: our nanocourse is a crash course in pediatric cancer. 

The goal of the Pediatric Cancer Nanocourse is to train members of the public to act as informed liaisons between childhood cancer researchers and the community. 

This year's Nanocourse is a little different, and serves as a special primer for cc-TDI as we explore the scientifically-validated, therapeutic use of natural products.  Thus, topic is:

"Treating Childhood Cancer on the Mars Colony".  

The idea is that humanity will bring plants to eat and make medicines with us to Mars (as lightweight seeds), instead of a chemical library.  Another way of saying this is, "what is the minimal number of natural products that give us the greatest number of chemical possibilities?" 


Subtopics will be: 

- childhood cancer drugs derived from plants on earth

- soil and the role of microbes (bacterial buddies to bring along)

- categories of plants, and which categories are most useful for drugs/building blocks of drugs

- special considerations of Mars (atmospheric pressure, sunlight, wind, temperature)

- extreme crops:  what we learn from environments on earth that suggest resilient crops for Mars

- water efficiency of plants

- fertilizer - did The Martian get it right?

- Fungus among us?  What we can grow underground. 

- transport and storage of seeds & spores

Previous course members have had their findings published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. There is no cost to attend the course, but participants are required to cover their own travel, lodging, and meals.  This is an immersive hands on experience -- virtual attendance by videoconference is not possible.  

We believe that liaisons like you are critical to speeding the development of new and effective treatments for rare pediatric cancers. We look forward to learning with and from youPlease contact scientific director Charles Keller, MD with questions at

Read published findings by our previous course graduates