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, 61 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 are due three times per year 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
2014 Postdoctural Canditate Pelotonia Fellows
Raul Araya-Secchi, PhD
Mentor – Marcos Sotomayor, PhD
Project – Resolving the structural determinants of fat cadherins’ function in cancer
Summary – I want to characterize the structure-function relationship on the extracellular domain of Fat cadherins. I want to identify and characterize protein-protein interactions with other cadherins and obtain their structure. Also I want to study the structural effect of cancer-related mutations found on this domain.
Michael Berberoglu, PhD
Mentor – Sharon Amacher, PhD
Project – Regulation of myogenic precursor cells in zebrafish skeletal muscle and in Rhabdomyosarcoma
Summary – Understand how muscle stem cells, known as satellite cells, are regulated in the muscle-derived cancer rhabdomyosarcoma, and whether modulation of muscle stem cell activity can be used as a therapeutic approach for muscle cancer.
Valerie Coffman, PhD
Project – Mechanical modeling of directed pronuclear migration and rotation in the early C. elegans embryo
HongSheng Dai, PhD
Project – Potentiating oncolytic virotherapy through a systemic study of the interaction between oHSV1 viral proteins and Natural Killer cells
Senthil Damodaran, PhD
Project – Genomic and proteomic alterations mediate secondary resistance to fibroblast growth factor receptor targeting
Amit Srivastava, PhD
Mentor – Qi-en Wang, PhD
Project – The regulation of translesion DNA synthesis in ovarian cancer stem cells
Summary – Examine the role of translesion synthesis, a DNA damage tolerance mechanism, in the escape of cancer stem cells from chemotherapeutic agent attack. This information will be used to develop potential cancer therapy agents to improve the therapy for ovarian cancer.
Mentor – Jianhua Yu, PhD
Project – Use of Combination of FLT3L and AMD3100 to Mobilize Donor Grafts Favorable for Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
Summary – The transplantation of cells obtained from the blood of siblings or volunteers unrelated donors can cure many patients with serious blood cancers. Unfortunately, many patients receiving such transplants suffer complications or experience relapse of their cancer and do not benefit. My research seeks to improve the quality of the blood cells obtained from donors so that more patients can benefit from blood cell transplantation.