Pelotonia Fellowships Funding Ohio State Cancer Research

August 11, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Each year, Pelotonia – a cycling event that raises money for cancer research at The Ohio State University – funds fellowship grants for undergraduate, graduate, medical school and post-doctoral students conducting cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. To date, more than $3 million raised through Pelotonia has been committed to fund fellowship grants.

This year's Pelotonia Fellowship Program is funding wide-ranging cancer research projects – from biology and engineering physics to exercise science and mathematics – proposed by 42 of the best and brightest Ohio State students who want to help cure cancer.

"Last year's second annual Pelotonia grassroots cycling tour raised $7.8 million, and those Pelotonia dollars are funding vital cancer research at Ohio State, allowing our youngest and brightest cancer investigators to help bridge the gap until they may one day qualify for federal research funding," says Dr. Michael Caligiuri, director of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. "Student researchers play a crucial role in making new discoveries that may one day lead to a cancer-free world."

Gustavo Leone, director of the Pelotonia Fellowship Program, adds that the fellowship program fosters a unique collaboration between students and world renowned researchers at Ohio State.

The third annual Pelotonia is scheduled for Aug. 19-21. For more information, visit

Undergraduate Fellowships
Each undergraduate fellowship is for up to one year and pays up to $12,000. The undergraduate grant recipients, along with their hometowns, majors and research project titles, include:

  • Yousef Alghothani, Upper Arlington, Ohio; Biology and Arabic; "Characterization of PD-L1 expression in multiple myeloma"
  • Zeenath Ameen, Dublin, Ohio; Biology; "Dietary Soy in Prostate Cancer Patients: An Investigation of the Anti-Cancer Properties of Soy Isoflavones"
  • Parker Brumfield, Columbus, Ohio; Biochemistry and Japanese; "Chemokine Receptor CXCR4 as a Novel Target Against Small Cell Lung Cancer"
  • Lindsay Cannon, Columbus, Ohio; Psychology; "Cancer Treatment Type, Heart Rate Variability, and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors"
  • Meng-Chun Chen, Columbus, Ohio; Biology and Chinese; "Novel Approach for Profiling Compartmentalization and Redistribution of Histone H1 Phosphorylation in Cancer Cells"
  • Veda Chokshi, North Olmsted, Ohio; Molecular Genetics; "The Role of E2F7 and E2F8 in Cell Cycle Control and Tumorigenesis"
  • Shauna Collins, Hudson, Ohio; Biomedical Science; "Targeting CS1 to enhance natural killer cell function against multiple myeloma: elucidation of mechanism of elotuzumab, a novel anti-CS1 antibody"
  • Nicholas Denton, Mentor, Ohio; Biomedical Science; "Investigation of acid sphingomyelinase contribution to glioblastoma multiform biology and response to radiation and chemotherapy"
  • Ryan Dixon, Parma, Ohio; Molecular Genetics; "Visualizing the dynamic localization and behavior of the Ras/MAPK pathway in germline apoptosis of C.elegans"
  • Michael Dworkin, Cleveland Heights, Ohio; Mathematics; "Extracting Mechanistic Insight From Large Biochemical Networks Via Statistical Analysis"
  • Benjamin Kaumeyer, Upper Arlington, Ohio; Biochemistry; "Identification of cell specific target genes for a Pax transcription factor in C elegans"
  • Danielle Kelly, Park City, Utah; Engineering Physics; "Proton Cancer Therapy: Using High Intensity Lasers to Accelerate Protons"
  • Christine Knopp, Akron, Ohio; Exercise Science; "One Goal: To Prevent Cancer Incidences in Women through the Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles"
  • George Koutras, Upper Arlington, Ohio; Biology; "Evaluation of fenretinide and its metabolites for oral squamous cell carcinoma chemoprevention"
  • Jonathan Lee, Dublin, Ohio; Molecular Genetics; "A Genome-wide Screening of Drosophila melanogaster to Identify Endoreduplication-specific Factors"
  • Melissa Mautel, Fairfield, Ohio; Molecular Genetics and International Studies; "AKT-1 Independent Functions of Tumor Suppressor PTEN"
  • Joseph Meyers, Doylestown, Ohio; Nutrition Science; "Effect of Vitamin A Metabolites on the Transcriptional Regulation of Immunoglobulin Synthesis in B Cells"
  • Jeff Miller, Findlay, Ohio; Biology; "Exploring Novel Functions of E2F3 in Bladder Cancer"
  • Sean Moore, Englewood, Colorado; Business; "Novel Markers of Anthracycline-Induced Myocardial Damage"
  • Ryan Orlosky, Wexford, Pennsylvania; Biology; "Study of the H-Ras-Rb Axis in Oncogene Induced Senescence"
  • Carlee Schaefer, Tipp City, Ohio; Molecular Genetics; "Use and Optimization of TAP-tagged Herpesvirus Protein to Identify Novel Host Protein Interactions"
  • Nandini Sharma, Findlay, Ohio; Molecular Genetics; "The Role of PKCβ in Breast Cancer Progression"
  • Ron Siebenaler, Toledo, Ohio; Biomedical Science; "Personalized Medicine in Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Targeting AML with Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors and Epigenetic Modifiers"
  • Breonna Slocum, Akron, Ohio; Microbiology; "Establishing the Link between Pax Transcription Factors and Acyl-CoA Synthetase in Cancer Biology"
  • Alex Smith, Hudson, Ohio; Computer Science and Engineering; "Development of a consensus-establishing software tool for skin cancer research"
  • Erica Toivonen, Columbus, Ohio; Exercise Science; "Reduce the Risk: Promoting Healthy Lifestyles in Males with an Increased Risk of Cancer"
  • Daniel Yanes, Dayton, Ohio; Biology and Public Health; "Analysis of the Role of MLL-PTD in Hematopoesis Using a Mouse Model"

Graduate Fellowships
Each graduate fellowship is for up to two years and pays a competitive annual stipend up to $25,000, plus fees and tuition. The graduate grant recipients, along with their graduate program and research project titles, include:

  • Yadwinder Deol, Faridkot, India; Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology; "Novel role of S100A7 in inhibiting Tamoxifen resistant estrogen receptor positive breast tumor growth"
  • Meera Govindaraghava, India; Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology; "Understanding the functional relationship between mitotic protein phosphorylation and methylation as a basis for development of novel chemotherapies."
  • Patrick Grierson, Marshfield, Wisconsin; Medical Scientist Training Program; "The BLM helicase facilitates RNA polymerase I-mediated ribosomal RNA transcription; implications for cell growth rate control"
  • Kara Kliewer, Columbus, Ohio; The Ohio State University Nutrition PhD Program; "Mechanisms of lipolysis and lipid utilization in adipose tissue in cancer cachexia"
  • Chris Lucas, Pataskala, Ohio; Integrated Biomedical Science Graduate Program; "Prohibitin-1, a potential Novel Therapeutic Target in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia"
  • Katja Machemer, Bensheim, Germany; Molecular Genetics; "Regulation of the plant development by MYB transcription factors"
  • James Phelan, Cincinnati, Ohio; Immunobiology Graduate Program; "T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia critically requires Gfi1 for survival"
  • Chenguang Zhou, Chengdu, China; Pharmaceutics; "Targeted Lipid and Surfactant Nanocarriers for Therapeutic Delivery of Anti-miR Oligos to Hepatocellular Cancer"
  • Rachel Zielinski, York, Pennsylvania; Biomedical Engineering; "The Role of Substrate Stiffness and Cell Mechanics in Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition of Cancer Cells"
  • Nicholas Zorko, Canton, Ohio; Integrated Biomedical Science Graduate Program; "Analysis of Epigenetic Changes Leading to Leukemia Stem Cell Development in a Double Knock-in Mouse Model of Acute Myeloid Leukemia" 

Medical School Fellowship
Each one-year medical school fellowship pays a competitive annual stipend up to of $25,000. The medical school fellowship recipient, along with his home town and research project title include:

  • Kyle Beckwith, Temperance, Mich.; "Development of a mouse model for in vivo evaluation of CD37 tetraspanin targeted therapeutic small modular immunopharmaceuticals for treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia"

Postdoctoral Pelotonia Fellowships
Each postdoctoral fellowship is for up to two years and pays a competitive annual stipend based on NIH guidelines. The postdoctoral fellowship recipients, along with their home towns and research project titles, include:

  • Christopher DeFraia, PhD, Tillson, N.Y.; "Genetic dissection of the maintenance, initiation, and re-initiation of epigenetic silencing"

  • Kenechi Ebede, MD, Cherry Hill, N.J.; "DNA Repair Mechanisms and Inflammation-Associated Intestinal Cancer In Vivo"

  • Lisa Jaremka, PhD, Buffalo, NY; "Socioeconomic status, depression, social support, and herpes virus latency among breast cancer survivors"

  • Daniel L. Kiss, PhD, Westlake, Ohio; "Relationship of cytoplasmic processing bodies to the re-activation of microRNA-silenced mRNAs"

  • Alberto Rocci, MD, Columbus, Ohio; "Absolute microRNA expression in plasma cells and serum of multiple myeloma patients: diagnostic and prognostic implications"

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute ( strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only seven centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials. The NCI recently rated Ohio State's cancer program as "exceptional," the highest rating given by NCI survey teams. As the cancer program's 210-bed adult patient-care component, The James is a "Top Hospital" as named by the Leapfrog Group and one of the top 20 cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

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