Postdoctoral Candidate Pelotonia Fellowship Program

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, 104 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.

Eligibility

Postdoctoral Fellowship Guidelines


2018 Postdoctoral Candidate Pelotonia Fellows

Haixia Niu

Haixia Niu

Mentor – Jose Cancelas 



Project – Identification of RXR Signaling in Bone Marrow Adipocytes and B Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia



Summary – Study the relationship between bone marrow fat cells and blood cells to better understand how they initiate leukemia and prevent future relapse in patients.



2018 Pelotonia Participant – Rider: 25 miles



Benjamin Sunkel

Benjamin Sunkel

Mentor – Steven Clinton 



Project – Novel Tumor Suppressive Role of Phosphodiesterases in Prostate Cancer



Summary – Investigate the safety of prescribing certain drugs to individuals following prostatectomy in order to reveal new biological pathways contributing to prostate cancer growth. Defining these pathways is an important step towards identifying prostate cancer earlier, treating prostate cancer more effectively and potentially limiting the risk of prostate cancer onset and recurrence.



2018 Pelotonia Participant – Rider: 100 miles



Safiya Khurshid

Safiya Khurshid

Mentor – Dawn Chandler



Project – Targeting Insulin Receptor Alternative Splicing to Treat Pediatric Rhabdomyosarcoma



Summary – Demonstrate how to impede the IGF2 pathway by reducing INR-A expression via antisense nucleotide (ASO) technology, which modulates the levels of INR-A in the Rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines, and consequently mitigate tumor hallmarks like cell-proliferation, migration and angiogenesis.



2018 Pelotonia Participant – Rider: 25 miles



Kirti Kaul

Kirti Kaul

Mentor – Ramesh Ganju



Project – Analyze Slit2-mediated Metabolic Reprogramming Mechanisms That Inhibit Tumor Growth and Metastasis



Summary – Study the role the immune cells play in regulating and slowing metastatic cancer growth. Specifically, whether a protein called Slit2, which is naturally expressed in healthy individuals but suppressed in breast cancer patients, exerts antitumor activity by altering cell energy production and use.



2018 Pelotonia Participant – Virtual rider



Larissa Valle Guilhen Longo

Larissa Valle Guilhen Longo

Mentor – Jian-Qiu Wu



Project – Unraveling the Regulation of β-glucan Synthase Bgs1 and Dynamics of Septum Formation During Fission Yeast Cytokinesis



Summary – Study the interaction of proteins involved in the cell division process in yeast, which is very similar to plant, animal and even human cells. Understanding these mechanisms in yeast can provide insights to understand and, consequently, fight cancer.



2018 Pelotonia Participant – Rider



Christoph Weigel

Christoph Weigel

Mentor – Christopher Oakes



Project – Epigenetic Changes in Blood Cancer



Summary – Develop a new blood cancer model based on isolated cells from healthy donors to study epigenetic changes in cells and the role these changes play in both cancer development and progression. The goal is to identify new ways to use specific tumor characteristics to detect and treat blood cancer in the future.



2018 Pelotonia Participant – Virtual rider



Megan Zavorka Thomas

Megan Zavorka Thomas

Mentor – Sharyn Baker



Project – S100A8 and S1009A Proteins in TKI Resistance in FLT3-ITD-Positive Acute Myeloid Leukemia



Summary – Study differences in cellular proteins after chemotherapy treatment in an effort to understand why certain AML patients develop recurrent disease and to identify new molecular targets for better drug therapy in AML.

Previous postdoctoral candidate Pelotonia fellows

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Contact

Marie Gibbons

Pelotonia Fellowship Manager


Phone: 614-685-1960
marie.gibbons@osumc.edu