April 05, 2020
1 min read

Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy awards grants to six early career researchers

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Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy awarded up to $2.75 million in grant funding to six early career researchers.

In addition to financial support, the investigators will have the chance to collaborate with pioneers in the field through events, workshops and retreats. They also will have access to early data from clinical trials and prepublished papers to help guide their research.

“The immuno-oncology field has incredible potential to make cancer curable, and these early career researchers will help Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy transform the way cancer research is done,” Lisa Butterfield, the institute’s vice president for research and development, said in a press release. “They bring open minds and fresh approaches to the toughest challenges in the field, which are grounded in their early training in some of the best labs in the country. [The institute’s] model gives them a collaborative environment where they can work across institutions to move big, bold ideas forward more quickly.”

The grant recipients are:

  • Cansu Cimen Bozkus, PhD, of Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai. Bozkus’ work focuses on using immune responses against tumor-specific antigens to develop new therapies.
  • Sharareh Sherri Gholamin, MD, PhD, of City of Hope. Gholamin will explore new immunotherapy combinations with chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapies to overcome treatment resistance among patients with brain cancer.
  • Kelly Kersten, PhD, of University of California, San Francisco. Kersten’s work focuses on how antitumor T cells behave and become dysfunctional in cancer.
  • Sydney Lu, MD, PhD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Lu’s research focuses on use of checkpoint inhibitors for difficult-to-treat malignancies, including lung, bladder and kidney cancers.
  • Cristina Puig Saus, PhD, of University of California, Los Angeles. Saus’ work focuses on how T cells respond to mutations in tumors after checkpoint inhibitor treatment.
  • Jennifer Wu, a PhD candidate at Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania. Wu is developing in vitro models in hopes of determining why T cells become exhausted, and why current therapies only partially reverse exhaustion.