University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)


September 2014 - Research Tour: Free to Breathe Advocacy Summit Group Visits UPCI Lung Cancer Research Labs

Members of the Free To Breathe Advocacy Summit Group will be touring the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and the Lung Cancer Program laboratories to learn more about the approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment that researchers use to study lung cancer.

Dr. Nancy Davidson (Director, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC CancerCenter), Dr. Mark Socinski and Dr. Timothy Burns will welcome about 70 members of the group Free to Breathe on Friday, September 19 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Free to Breathe is an organization dedicated to funding lung cancer research, ensuring patients have access to clinical trials and advocating for the latest treatments for lung cancer patients. The group is made up of doctors, patients, caregivers and other advocates whose goal is to double lung cancer survival by the year 2022.

The goals of the UPCI Lung Cancer Program are to define molecular pathways that contribute to the development and progression of lung and thoracic malignancies; improve therapy for thoracic cancers; identify individuals at high risk for thoracic cancer to improve early detection; and conduct clinical research studies in thoracic cancers.

August 2014 - UPCI is Awarded Two New T32 Training Grants from the National Institutes of Health

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Training Grants support pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and short-term research training experiences in specified areas of biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research. UPCI investigators were recently awarded two new T32 training grants to support pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellows in cancer-related research disciplines.

John M. Kirkwood, MD, Co-Leader of the UPCI Melanoma Program, directs the new Training Program in Skin Biology and Cancer (T32CA175294), which provides state-of-the-art interdisciplinary basic research training for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who seek a career in the strongly interwoven skin biology/skin cancer field. Specifically, this training program offers pre- and post-doctoral fellows a unique opportunity to obtain by way of molecular, immunologic, and bioengineering studies, important scientific insights into the biology of skin regeneration, inherited skin disorders, and skin cancer. Co-leaders of the T32 are Alan Wells, MD, DMSc, and Lisa Butterfield, PhD. Applicants may contact Victoria Alisasis by email at or by phone at 412-623-7708 to learn more about the program.

Jian-Min Yuan, MD, PhD, Co-Leader of the UPCI Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program, and Lesley Butler, MSPH, PhD co-direct the new Translational Research Training in Cancer Etiology and Prevention Program (T32CA186873). This program is focused on improving cancer prevention and control by translating novel discoveries from observational studies and laboratory experiments to interventional trials in clinical and community settings. Post-doctoral fellows supported through this mechanism will be trained in understanding the role of environmental exposures and genetic and other physiological factors in the development and progression of cancer in humans. They will complete cross-disciplinary coursework in the areas of translational, observational, and interventional research and clinical trials, and will gain hands-on experience through mentored research projects. The Program Steering Committee will use the following criteria to evaluate applicants: career interests in cancer etiology and prevention research compatible with faculty interest and expertise; positive letters of recommendation; an outstanding academic record; prior publication record and other evidence of a commitment to a likely successful career in research; the ability to recognize important research problems and a demonstrated capacity to seek solutions; intellectual integrity; and enthusiasm. One of the most important criteria for acceptance will be the candidate's clear career plans and potential for independent research in an academic setting. For further information, contact Brooke Spencer, T32 Program Administrator, at or 412-864-7861.

These two recently funded T32s add to the growing list of current UPCI training grant opportunities.

July 2014 - University of Pittsburgh Mitochondria, Aging and Metabolism Work Group: Request for Pilot Proposals

The objective of the Mitochondria, Aging and Metabolism (MAM) work group is to promote the exchange of knowledge, tools, and techniques in the areas of mitochondria, aging, and metabolism. As innovative lines of investigation emerge through an increased communication of our community members, there is a fundamental need for funds dedicated to supporting the exploration of these novel research directions. To this end, through generous funding provided from UPMC, the MAM work group has established a pilot grant program in support of highly innovative, team-based, transdisciplinary, and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh.

Click here for more information.

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