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

    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.

    Latest RAP Awardees

    RAP Spring 2022 Cycle Awardees

    • Amar Nijagal, MD
      Novel immune mechanisms in the developing liver promote pediatric hepatoblastoma
    • Melisa Wong, MD, MAS
      Feasibility pilot study of the Best Case/Worst Case-Geriatric Oncology communication tool to improve decision making for older adults with advanced cancer
    • Mohammad Naser, PhD
      A 7-channel Light-Source for Improved Spectral Resolution for Whole-Slide Immunofluorescent Imaging
    • Claire Mulvey, MD
      eNET: a Web-Based Health Platform to Investigate Quality of Life in Patients with Neuroendocrine Tumors
    • Aaron Diaz, PhD
      Decoding the epigenetic differences between molecular subtypes of pediatric diffuse midline glioma
    • Michael Potter, MD
      Feasibility of colorectal cancer screening in an integrated healthcare system in Baja California, Mexico
    • Li-Wen Huang, MD
      Teleoncology for Cognitively Impaired Patients: Provider and Patient Perspective
    • Kondapa Naidu Bobba, PhD
      Development of an improved method for 225Ac radioimmunotherapy of prostate cancer
    • Luika Timmerman, PhD
      Nanobodies for Therapy and Detection of Poor Prognosis Tumors
    • Michael Evans, PhD
      Maximizing tumor responses to FAP alpha targeted radiotherapy with a proteolytically activated membrane binding radiopharmaceutical
    • Henry VanBrocklin, PhD
      Image guided chemotherapeutic delivery: Development of 89Zr-star-PEG-talizoparib

    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.

    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.

    The Cancer League

    The Cancer League 2021 Awardees

    • Alex Marson, MD, PhD
      Use of CRISPR technology to improve T cell-based immunotherapy cancer treatments.
    • Kelly Schoenbeck, MD
      Evaluating TKI-associated cognitive dysfunction in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in chronic phase

    About The Cancer League

    The Cancer League's primary interest is in funding research projects that need seed money to gain traction or to get closer to a clinical trial. In addition, projects that take an existing form of treatment, but make it better or more palatable for the patient population are equally as welcomed.

    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 Feb 2023