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, 92 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 February 17th, 2017 and 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

Apply Now

2016 Postdoctoral Candidate Pelotonia Fellows

Bo Xu

Bo Xu

Project – A novel oncolytic HSV-1 carrying CDH1 improves the efficacy of virotherapy by enhancing viral spread

Summary – Study how novel oncolytic virus “OV-CDH1” improves the viral spread, which is benefit for the tumor killing. This study will be used to develop highly effective oncolytic viruses to improve the outcome of GBM, the most common brain tumor.

Chunming Cheng


Project – The Molecular Mechanism of EGFR Signaling via mTOR Promotes SCAP/SREBP-1 Activation and Tumor Growth

Summary – Elucidate how EGFR signaling regulates SCAP/SREBP-1 pathway and promotes GBM growth. Completion of this study may open up a potential new avenue for treating GBM patients via inhibiting SCAP and SREBP-1.

Jiangsheng Xu

Jiangsheng Xu

Project – Dual-targeting and mitochondria-immobilizing nanoparticle drug delivery to overcome the multidrug resistance in cancer stem cells

Summary – Cancer stem cells, also known as tumor initiating cells, are a major cause of cancer relapse associated with cancer chemotherapy. We aim to develop nanomaterial-based drug delivery strategy to kill cancer stem cells. This will be achieved by specifically targeting and damaging the mitochondria in cancer stem cells, the powerhouse that is indispensable for the survival of cancer stem cells.

Kunal Chatterjee


Project – Identification and characterization of two novel tRNA nuclear exporters in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Summary – Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) are required for protein synthesis in all cells. Altered tRNA levels are associated with several cancers. My study aims to investigate two novel proteins that likely control levels of tRNA available for protein synthesis and results of my study may identify potential new targets for cancer therapeutics.

Malik Al-Afyouni

Al Afyouni

Project – Ru(II) Complexes for Multi-Action Photoinduced Cell Death and Imaging

Summary – We will prepare and test new cytotoxic ruthenium complexes that selectively target cancer cells and prevent metastasis. These complexes will be activated by light and will selectively deliver a drug molecule, generate cytotoxic singlet oxygen, and release a fluorescent dye for cell imaging upon irradiation.

Rakesh Pathak


Project – Engineering Albumin-Mimic Nanoparticles for Pancreatic Cancer Therapy

Summary – Investigating the mechanistic aspects of protein-protein interactions to design tumor-targeted chemotherapeutic formulations in pancreatic cancer settings.

Stephanie Wilson


Project – Is Inflammation Impacted by Pain and Sleep Disturbance in Breast Cancer Survivors? Identifying Modifiable Risk Factors to Improve Survivors’ Longevity, Health, and Quality of Life

Summary – The study will investigate the role of common post-treatment symptoms, pain and sleep disturbance, in the worsening of inflammation in the immune-vulnerable population of breast cancer survivors. This work has the potential to pinpoint key modifiable risk and protective factors to advance survivors’ longevity, health, and quality of life.

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