The Pelotonia Graduate Fellowship Program provides two-year research fellowships to the best and brightest Ohio State University graduate students who want to help cure cancer. Cancer is a complex disease, and curing it will take a multidisciplinary effort. So no matter what their field of study, from traditional scientific fields to fields such as business, history and engineering, all Ohio State graduate students may apply.

Graduate students do a significant amount of work in most labs. Ohio State has many graduate students who are working in the broad field of cancer research, but many of them are not working on independent research projects. Receiving a Pelotonia Graduate Fellowship gives these students the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the field of cancer research, and to develop and work on their own independent projects.

To date, 77 graduate fellows have been funded. These students come from very diverse graduate programs—from Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry to Biomedical Engineering and Psychology—and are working on diverse projects, including development of new bioinformatics algorithms that predict treatment responses for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), to learning how black raspberries can impact and prevent prostate cancer.

Competition for Pelotonia Graduate Fellowships is fierce. Each year approximately 75 graduate applications are submitted. Each application is critically reviewed by members of the Pelotonia Fellowship Committee. Because of the prestigious nature of these awards, many students have reported that receiving a Pelotonia Fellowship has distinguished them from their peers when going on to do postdoctoral research or moving on to faculty positions.

Graduate Fellows are paid a competitive annual stipend (~$25K), and Ohio State’s Graduate School has generously agreed to pay their fees and tuition.


To be eligible, an applicant must:

  • Be an outstanding Ohio State graduate student
  • Have passed their candidacy exam before funding begins
  • Propose a cancer-related project
  • Participate in Pelotonia


Applications for the next Graduate Pelotonia Fellowships were due on January 15, 2015, and are scored on the following criteria:

  • Applicant strengths and research potential
  • Mentor/advisor qualifications and training record
  • Innovativeness and impact of project to cancer research

Read the full guidelines 

2014 Graduate Student Pelotonia Fellows

Paula Agudelo

Project – Influence of HAT1 in Protein Acetylation and Cell Metabolism

Yuntao Bai

Project – Exposure to fine particulate matters (PM2.5) promotes vasculogenesis and tumor growth mediated by tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in an orthotopic lung tumor model

Kyle Beckwith

Project – Targeting CD37 and elucidating its role in B-cell malignancy

Heather Derry

Project – Cognitive Function and Cardiorespiratory Fitness During Breast Cancer Survivorship

Priscilla Do

Project – The role of CTLA-4 in promoting leukemic cell survival in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Julia Harris

Project – Regulation of the BLM Topoisomerase IIalpha interaction via BLM phosphorylation

Kyle LaPak

Project – Unraveling the driving mechanisms of 9p21.3 tumor susceptibility

Dongju Park

Project – PALB2 and its role in BRCAs-mediated tumor suppression

Jason Pitarresi

Project – Fibroblast Specific Deletion of Smoothened Accelerates Kras-Driven Pancreatic Tumorigenesis

Kristen Roberts

Project – Black Raspberry Bioactives and cancer: Novel Foods, Biodistribution, and Impact

Steven Scoville

Project – The Role of the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor in Natural Killer Cell Development

Benjamin Sunkel

Project – Inhibiting CREB1/FoxA1 target gene-driven castration-resistant prostate cancer

Kanu Wahi

Project – Examining the role of mir-125a in post-transcriptional regulation of the Notch pathway

Chao Wang

Project – Discovering Integrative Biomarkers for Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Catherine Waters

Project – Fhit loss-induced DNA damage facilitates APOBEC-mediated mutagenesis

Jian Wu

Project – High-throughput structural and functional analysis of RNA 3D structures

Bo Zhang

Project – Characterization of the localization of Hrr25/CK1δ to P-bodies

Yihua Zhu

Project – Characterization of a novel protein Rng13 in maintaining contractile ring stability and cell integrity during fission yeast cytokinesis

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