Pelotonia To Fund 5 Postdoctoral Fellows At Ohio State

December 29, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Pelotonia Fellowship Program, which is funded by the annual Pelotonia cycling event, will award grants to five postdoctoral students to conduct innovative cancer research at The Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

Pelotonia funds fellowship grants for undergraduate, graduate, medical school and post-doctoral students conducting cancer research at Ohio State. To date, 116 Pelotonia fellowships have been awarded, including 56 undergraduates, 32 graduate students, two medical students and 26 post-doctoral students.

“The Pelotonia Fellowship Program is incredibly effective,” says program director Gustavo Leone, who holds a doctorate of molecular virology. “We have been able to recruit some of the best and brightest postdoctoral students from around the world who will work here at Ohio State with some of the world’s most renowned scientists to help move us closer to our goal of one day living in a cancer-free world.”

The Pelotonia Fellowship Program is already making strides toward a cancer-free world, as several fellowship recipients at varying levels of scholarship – undergraduate students, graduate students, medical students and postdoctoral researchers – are working with faculty mentors in the world of cancer research. One such example is Markus Mair, a postdoctoral researcher from Austria who received a Pelotonia Fellowship award for “Genetic Dissection of the Tumor Microenvironment.”

Mair is conducting the project in Leone’s laboratory to establish a novel approach to identifying genes in normal cells surrounding the tumor that have an impact on tumor development and progression. Results of this tumor microenvironment project could be relevant for many types of cancer, says Mair.

The Pelotonia Fellowship Program funds wide-ranging cancer research projects – from traditional science fields to history, business and computer science. Postdoctoral research is scholarly research intended to further deepen expertise in a specialist subject, including acquiring novel skills and methods.

Postdoctoral Pelotonia Fellowships
Each highly competitive postdoctoral fellowship is for up to two years and pays a competitive annual stipend based on National Institutes of Health guidelines. The postdoctoral fellowship recipients, along with their research project titles and mentors, are:

Dinesh Ahirwar, PhD, “Analyzing the role of chemokine CXCL12 in breast cancer progression and metastasis;” mentored by Ramesh Ganju, PhD

Ann-Kathrin Eisfeld, MD, “The genomic basis for BAALC overexpression in AML;” mentored by Albert de la Chapelle MD, PhD and Clara Bloomfield, MD

Seyed Ali Hosseini, MD, PhD, “Chromosome fragility in epithelial cells: role in replication stress and cancer initiation;” mentored by Kay Huebner, PhD

Yuliang Wang, PhD, “Mechanical determinants permissive for epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition;” mentored by Sissy Jhiang, PhD & Chia-Hsiang Menq, PhD

Yuh-Ying Yeh, PhD, “Autophagy as a mechanism of drug resistance in CLL;” mentored by John Byrd, MD

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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Contact: Gretchen Sauer, Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, 614-293-3737, or Gretchen.Sauer@osumc.edu

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