The Pelotonia Postdoctoral Candidate Fellowship Program provides two-year research fellowships to the most promising postdoctoral candidates 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 the traditional science fields to fields such as history, business and computer science, all postdoctoral candidates may apply.
Postdoctoral researchers are at a critical point in their careers. They are generally able to work on their own independent research projects, and they have experience presenting their work and publishing their results in research journals. But many postdoctoral researchers lack the skills and funding necessary to become truly independent researchers.
The Pelotonia Postdoctoral Fellowship Program funds postdoctoral fellows at this critical time in their careers. An emphasis of this program is on funding postdoctoral fellows who have recently received their PhDs. Postdoctoral fellows have been recruited from around the world to come to Ohio State to advance their careers and work on cancer research projects.
To date, 74 postdoctoral fellows have been funded. These students come from very diverse backgrounds, from Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Medicine to Mechanical Engineering and Psychology, and they are working on diverse projects, from studying how a cancer-causing virus affects human cells, to understanding why specific cancer-causing genetic mutations lead to cancer 100 percent of the time while other mutations lead to cancer only in a proportion of cases.
Competition for Pelotonia Postdoctoral Fellowships is fierce. Each year approximately 70 postdoctoral applications are submitted. Each application is critically reviewed by members of the Pelotonia Fellowship Committee. Because of the prestigious nature of these awards, many postdoctoral awardees have reported that receiving a Pelotonia Fellowship has distinguished them from their peers and they have moved on to faculty positions or prestigious positions in industry.
Postdoctoral fellowships pay a competitive annual stipend based on NIH guidelines.
Applications will be due February 15, 2016 and will be scored on the following criteria:
- Applicant strengths and research potential (Emphasis is given to clinical fellows and applicants who have graduated within the last year, excluding clinical fellows, and who are or will be new to Ohio State—less than one year—and who have the potential to become independent scientists.)
- Mentor/adviser qualifications and training record
- Innovativeness and impact of project on cancer research
2015 Postdoctural Canditate Pelotonia Fellows
Blake Hildreth, DVM, PhD
Project – Investigation of the role of the transcription factor PU.1 in breast cancer bone metastasis
Summary – We are evaluating the effects of inhibiting a molecule in bone called PU.1 on breast cancer cell spread to and growth in bone.
Regina Nostramo, PhD
Project – Role of the Tumor Suppressor Protein USP10 and Stress Granules on Cell Survival
Summary - Stress granules are newly identified structures in the cell that contribute to cancer cell survival and their resistance to therapeutic intervention. Our studies aim to determine how these granules influence cell growth and lay the groundwork for the development of new anti-cancer treatments.
Laura Barreyro, PhD
Project – Inhibition of innate immune signaling as a therapeutic approach in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
Summary – Improper activation of innate immunity can support tumors. We will learn how two experimental agents work together to inhibit innate immunity in cancers of the blood. This information will be used to improve therapies for acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes.
Bahadir Batar, PhD
Project – Synthetic lethal strategy to eliminate Fhit-deficient cancers early during progression
Summary – We aim to prevent growth of Fhit-deficient precancerous and cancerous cells through inhibition of the specific DNA repair pathway required to fix damage in Fhit-deficient cells.
Kimberly Bowen, PhD
Project – Vagal Tone, Inflammation, and Metabolic Risk in Breast Cancer Survivors
Summary – Investigate whether reductions in heart rate variability, a measure of how much the time interval between heartbeats changes, underlie later changes in immune and metabolic health, such as increased blood pressure and cholesterol, among breast cancer survivors. As higher heart rate variability is associated with beneficial health outcomes, this information will provide insight into the factors contributing to increased cardiovascular health risk for breast cancer survivors for later prevention and intervention work.
Ruchira Datta, PhD
Project – Quantitative Modeling of Signaling Interactions in the Breast Tumor Microenvironment
Summary – We will try to figure out how the tumor's cancer cells trick the body's healthy cells into not killing the tumor and even helping the tumor get bigger. That way we can get the body's healthy cells to stop helping the tumor get bigger and even to kill it.
Fabienne McClanahan, MD, PhD
Project – Correction of Immune Defects by Ibrutinib in the Setting of Aging-Related Immune Dysfunction in CLL
Summary – The goal of my project is to learn how a new and highly effective anti-leukemia drug called ibrutinib corrects immune defects in elderly patients, and how their immune function is different from the immune function in otherwise healthy older individuals. This will allow us to understand why serious and often fatal infections during ibrutinib treatment occur, and why older patients are more affected by this than younger ones. The findings from this project will greatly affect the clinical management and ultimately reduce the high morbidity and mortality due to infections in these patients.
Tomoya Muto, MD, PhD
Project – Cooperative effect of innate immune pathway activation and concurrent epigenetic mutations in myelodysplastic syndrome stem cells
Summary - Learn how innate immune pathway activation and concurrent epigenetic mutations cooperate in the pathogenesis of myelodysplastic syndrome. This information will provide novel insight into myelodysplastic syndrome stem cells and be used to establish novel therapies.
Marlena Ryba, PhD
Project – A Computerized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Cancer Patients with Major Depressive Disorder
Summary – Evaluate a computerized psychosocial intervention for cancer patients with major depressive disorder. The intervention may have significant impact on the delivery of evidenced based treatments and address gaps in clinical care needs of cancer patients with depression.