Funded Research

The Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center has a vibrant intramural awards program that administers CCSG developmental funds as well as foundation and philanthropic funds for pilot projects. View open funding opportunities. For questions about intramural awards, please contact Meredith Donnelly.

    Intramural Award Recipients

    Prostate Cancer Program Pilot Grants

    Research Pilot Award Recipients (2023 - Round 2)

    • Anil Bidkar, PhD and Scott Bidlingmaier, PhD
      Actinium-225/MMAE Dual-Loaded Antibody Drug Conjugate for Prostate Cancer Targeted Therapy
    • Peter Bruno, PhD
      Towards Identifying the Immunopeptidome of Prostate Cancer and its Role in Disease Progression
    • Lisa Chesner, PhD
      Investigation of Wee1 inhibition for ATM-deficient prostate cancer
    • Cornelia Ding, MD, PhD  and David Quigley, PhD
      The Molecular Pathologic Characterization of Double-Negative Metastatic Prostate Cancer
    • Aidan Pace
      Effects of an Exercise Program on Markers of Inflammation and Insulinemia in Men on Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer
    • Kimberly Rickman, MD, PhD
      Defining prostate cancer tumor-immune system interactions in BRCA2 deficiency to identify therapeutic vulnerabilities
    • Jiuling Yang, MD, PhD
      Unraveling the role of PVRL2 in tumor development and determining its therapeutic potential 
    • Xiaolin Zhu, MD, PhD
      Investigating SSTR1 in Resistance to Androgen Receptor Signaling Inhibitors in Prostate Cancer

    Research Pilot Award Recipients (2023 - Round 1)

    • Jonathan Chou, MD, PhD
      Inhibition as a Therapeutic Strategy for CDK12-Mutated Prostate Cancer
    • Erin Van Blarigan, ScD
      Eating Better Together: Developing a Dyadic Dietary Intervention for Prostate Cancer Patients and their Partners
    • Meng Zhang, MSc, PhD
      Investigation of Microproteins as Novel Druggable Targets in Prostate Cancer

    About the Prostate Cancer Program Pilot Research Awards

    The UCSF Prostate Cancer Program funds pilot projects in all areas of prostate cancer research at UCSF, including computational, laboratory, translational, clinical, and population sciences. Learn more about this program.


    Latest RAP Awardees

    RAP Fall 2023 Cycle Awardees

    • Jennifer Rosenbluth, MD, PhD
      Breast Organoids as Models for Cancer Interception
    • Aaron Diaz, PhD
      Targeting ZSCAN4 mediated telomere repair in pediatric brain tumors
    • Arpita Desai, MD
      Investigation of Hyperpolarized 13 C MRI to assess treatment response in metastatic kidney cancer
    • Manish Aghi, MD, PhD
      Skull Bone Marrow Contributes Antigen Presenting Hybrid Neutrophils to the Glioblastoma Microenvironment
    • Katherine Wai, MD
      Defining the Immune Response to Checkpoint Inhibition in Head and Neck Cancer
    • Gregory Allen, MD, PhD
      Establishing new more rigorous pancreatic tumor models for pre-clinical evaluation of next-gen CAR T cell designs

    For more information on the cancer research projects above, read our news story.

    About the RAP Awards

    The Resource Allocation Program (RAP) is a campus-wide program whose aim is to coordinate intramural research funding opportunities for the UCSF community. Through RAP, the Cancer Center and other UCSF agencies provide seed funding to encourage clinical investigators, especially those at the beginning of their career, to initiate promising projects that may enable them to compete successfully for national research grants. Targeted areas are innovative pilot and phase I/II studies and other projects in clinical, health policy, health services, and psychosocial and behavioral research.

    HDFCCC DEIA Mini-Grants

    2023 DEIA Mini-Grant Recipients

    Administrative Support

    • Lucy Young, PhD - staff 

    Conference Travel

    • Samrawit Agezew - medical student
    • Kimberly Badal, PhD - postdoctoral fellow
    • Ashley Bolden - staff
    • Brittany Campbell - staff
    • Li Cao, PhD - postdoctoral fellow
    • Emma Greenstreet Akman - medical student
    • Rohini Jain, MD - clinical fellow
    • Katie Lichter, MPH, MD - clinical resident
    • Nathan Magalit - medical student
    • Kelsey Natsuhara, MD - clinical fellow
    • Ernesto Rojas - graduate student
    • Matthew Ryan - graduate student

    Professional Development

    • Celene Balido - staff
    • Jiaying Chen, PhD - postdoctoral fellow
    • Ghmkin Hassan, PhD, MSc - postdoctoral fellow
    • Mieka Johnson - staff
    • Ramon Ortiz Catalan, PhD - postdoctoral fellow
    • Priya Parikh, MD - faculty
    • Rachel Sabol, MD - clinical resident

    About the HDFCCC DEIA Mini-Grants

    In 2023, the HDFCCC Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) awarded 20 mini-grants to support career development activities for faculty, staff, and trainees across the UCSF cancer community. Four award types were offered: (1) Administrative Support, (2) Community Building, (3) Conference Travel, and 4) Professional Development.

    Learn more about this program.

    HDFCCC Clinical Research Staff Research Project Support RFA

    Beginning in 2022, 13 travel and publication stipends have been awarded to HDFCCC Clinical Research staff who are working with HDFCCC faculty on a research project. The awards have covered travel to research conferences and publication in journals. View the full RFA.

    Congratulations to following recipients (and their faculty mentors):

    • Miranda Gilbert and Lucy Fu (Dr. Arun Rangaswami)
    • Tanya Jindal (Dr. Vadim Koshkin)
    • Nathalie Kacik (Dr. Hope Rugo)
    • Bryan Khuong Le (Dr. Emily Bergsland)
    • Tina Kim (Dr. Hope Rugo)
    • Farhada Moon (Dr. Emily Bergsland)
    • Victoria Onyike (Dr. Lee-May Chen)
    • Divita Pandita (Dr. Babis Andreadis)
    • Brianna Roque and Kenzie Johnson (Dr. Jo Chien)
    • Nonna Shakhnazaryan (Dr. Eric Small & Dr. Daniel Kwon)
    • Evelin Trejo (Dr. Ana Velázquez Mañana)
    • Karina Wong (Dr. Kieuhoa Vo) 
    The Cancer League

    The Cancer League 2023 Awardees

    • Elliot Stieglitz, MD
      Using the immune system to treat infant leukemia
    • Mike Rabow, MD
      Sustaining Cancer Care Partners Throughout the Cancer Journey
    • Hugo Gonzalez Velozo, PhD
      Interrogating cellular crosstalk in human brain metastasis using 3D tumor-host assembloids
    • Robert Goldsby, MD
      Utilizing A Mobile App to Help Survivors of Childhood Cancer Navigate Long-Term Follow-Up Care
    • Vadim Koshkin, MD
      Clinicogenomic profiles and treatment outcomes of HER2-expressing and HER2-altered urothelial cancer

    The Cancer League 2022 Awardees

    • Robert Flavell, MD, PhD
      Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen Targeted [177Lu] Labeled Nanomedicines to Treat Prostate Cancer
    • Alex Marson, MD, PhD
      Unlocking the Cancer-killing Capacity of γδ T Cells

    About The Cancer League

    The Cancer League’s primary interest is in funding projects in early stage research and/or supporting and assisting patients through their cancer journey. Their mission is to support the fight against cancer in such areas as early detection, education, patient care services and research for various types of cancer for men, women and children.

    HDFCCC Pilot Projects ($1M Fund)

    In 2022, the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center funded 25 promising pilot projects totaling $1 million to support cancer research in strategic and developing areas. The projects span basic, translational, and population science from early career and established investigators.

    Full the full list of awardees.

    Benioff Initiative for Prostate Cancer Research (BIPCR)

    2022 BIPCR Molecular Oncology Program Awards

    About the BIPCR Molecular Oncology Program Awards

    The Benioff Initiative for Prostate Cancer Research has provided project funding to support proposals from the HDFCCC Molecular Oncology Program. The funding is intended to address the serious unmet need for new therapeutic treatments for prostate cancer patients, particularly those with aggressive metastatic disease.

    Emerson Collective

    2021 Emerson Collective Digital Oncology Care Awardees

    About the Emerson Collective Digital Oncology Care Awards:

    The Emerson Collective invited grant applications for solutions that implement evidence-based research findings to improve patient health outcomes for clinical practice in oncology. They aimed to offer funding that initiates new prototypes or new pilot studies of digital health solutions that engage patients with a team of care providers.

    2021 Emerson Collective Cancer Research Fund Awardees

    About the Emerson Collective Cancer Research Fund Awards:

    The Emerson Collective Cancer Research Fund requested individual or team proposals with potential to significantly impact our understanding of and/or approaches to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of cancer. Topics were to include: engineering allogeneic cells with new properties; validating new target antigens for cell therapy in cancer; targeted intracellular gene or protein delivery mechanisms; or enabling early cancer detection.

    Computational Cancer Research

    Computational Cancer Research 2021 Awardees

    • Trever Bivona, MD, PhD
      Deep learning-based characterization of the drug tolerant persister cell state in lung cancer
    • Jocelyn Chapman, MD
      Predicting homologous recombination deficient ovarian cancer from clinical sequencing
    • Aaron Diaz, PhD
      Target discovery for chimeric-antigen receptor T cells in pediatric brain tumors based on an analysis of alternative splicing
    • Julian Hong, MD, MS
      Artificial intelligence approaches to reduce disparities in supportive care during cancer therapy

    About the Computational Cancer Research Awards:

    Through a generous donation, the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center sought applications for projects in computational cancer research, highlighting a new Cancer Center initiative focusing on Data Science. Projects were to focus on: (1) addressing an important problem in cancer through the analysis of existing data sets; and (2) developing or utilizing novel data science methods to reveal new insights in cancer biology, etiology, treatment, or other clinically relevant areas.

    Pancreatic Cancer Awards

    Pancreatic Cancer 2021 Awardees

    • Andrew Ko, MD
      Delving into HR-Deficient Pancreatic Cancer: Navigating a Panel vs. Whole Genome Approach
    • Sarah Knox, PhD
      Define the role of nerve-tumor interactions in promoting pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma progression
    • Jeroen Roose, PhD
      A PDAC organoid biobank with single-cell characterization

    About the Pancreatic Cancer RFA

    Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a deadly disease that is the focus of numerous basic and translational scientists at UCSF. However, progress against the disease has come slowly, if at all. This has discouraged some investigators from focusing on PDA because the metrics for success may seem too difficult to achieve. Thanks to a generous donation from the Shorenstein Foundation, the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center was able to fund investigators with ongoing basic and/or translational research projects that could logically be expanded to include pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

    Junior Cancer Researcher

    Junior Cancer Researcher 2021 Awardees

    • Matthew Spitzer, PhD
      "Defining the Cellular and Molecular Characteristics of Immunotherapy-Responsive Tumors using Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging of Archival Tumor Biopsies"

    About the HDFCCC Junior Cancer Researcher Award

    Thanks to a generous donation, the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center sought applications from junior researchers with an interest in working on high-risk high-reward projects in cancer. Funding was intended for individuals who wanted to apply novel approaches to solve major cancer-specific challenges, especially those with potential clinical impact. 

    Artificial Intelligence, Imaging & Cancer

    Artificial Intelligence, Imaging & Cancer 2021 Awardees

    • Peder Larson, PhD
      Scaling the Impact of PSMA-PET in Prostate Cancer with AI-based Imaging Biomarkers
    • Janine Lupo, PhD
      Integrating Metabolic and Physiologic MRI with Deep Learning to Predict Regions of Progression in Patients with Glioblastoma

    About the AI, Imaging & Cancer Awards

    Through a generous donation, the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center sought projects applying machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to imaging data in cancer. Projects were to focus on an innovative idea using imaging data along with AI to improve diagnosis, treatment selection, response assessment, or prognosis of cancer.

    Updated February 2024