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.
2017 Postdoctoral Candidate Pelotonia Fellows
Mentors – Navjot Pabla and Alex Sparreboom
Project – The role of aquaporins in cisplatin transport in normal and cancer cells
Summary – Learn if aquaporins, the water channel proteins, can transport the anticancer drug cisplatin in normal kidney cells and cancer cells. This may provide insight into how to manage the drug toxicity and, in the meanwhile, increase its efficacy in patients.
Mentor – Sameek Roychowdhury
Project – Genomic characterization of Tumor Heterogeneity through Research Autopsy
Summary – Characterize tumor heterogeneity in patients with advanced solid tumors harboring driver genomic alterations through rapid research autopsy and whole exome sequencing. Assess whether circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is an accurate surrogate for tumor heterogeneity through targeted sequencing.
Mentors – Amy Johnson and John Byrd
Project – The role of CLL exosomes in Tumor Mediated Defects in Innate Immunity
Summary – Evaluate how tumor cells in chronic lymphocytic leukemia affect their neighboring cells through the release of small extracellular vesicles. These vesicles include molecules and proteins capable of dampening the immune response thus promoting tumor survival.
Mentor – Ramesh Ganju
Project – S100A7-mediated cross-talk between adipocytes and triple negative breast cancer
Summary – The aim of this study is to identify S100A7- mediated mechanisms that enhance obesity-induced triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) growth and progression. The completion of this study will help us to develop S100A7 as a novel biomarker and therapeutic target of obese-TNBC patients.
Mentor – David Carbone
Project – Investigating extracellular vesicle protein and RNA profiles for biomarkers of response and efficacy in anti PD-1/PD-L1 treated non-small-cell lung cancer
Summary – Perform a direct comparison of RNA and protein in EVs and RNA in plasma from responding and nonresponding patients undergoing single agent PD-1/PD-L1 pathway targeting immunotherapy to define a RNA or protein signature or candidate biomarker for response.
Mentors – Zobeida Cruz-Monserrate and Darwin Conwell
Project – Identifying the Mechanisms in Adipose Tissue that Promote Pancreas Cancer
Summary – Evaluate components of fat tissue and identify novel molecules secreted by fat that may contribute to pancreas cancer progression. This work may provide insights into the mechanisms that link obesity and pancreas cancer.