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 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.

    Latest RAP Awardees

    RAP Spring 2023 Cycle Awardees

    • Mark Magbanua, PhD
      Elucidating the clinical significance and biology of cell-free DNA shedding in high-risk early-stage breast cancer
    • Yao Wang, PhD
      Restoring the effector T cells-induced cytotoxicity in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
    • Robert Bok, MD, PhD
      Development of New Hyperpolarized C-13 MRI Tools for Measuring Neuroendocrine Cancer Aggressiveness and Therapeutic Response
    • Susan Noworolski, PhD
      The Feasibility of Using Multiparametric MRI Cancer Risk Maps to Guide Focal HIFU Therapy for Prostate Cancer
    • Robert Flavell, MD, PhD
      Treatment of Prostate Cancer using Thorium-227 Alpha-Radioimmunotherapy Targeting CD46
    • Michael McManus, PhD
      Relaying T cell interactions
    • Annette Molinaro, PhD
      Investigating the association between blood-based immune profiles and immunotherapy response in glioblastoma patients
    • Yan Li, PhD
      Automated MR Spectroscopic Imaging for Improved Glioma Evaluation Clinical Workflow
    • Tomi Nano, PhD
      Smartphone-Based Surface Guidance in Radiation Therapy as an Emerging Paradigm in Personalized Cancer Care
    • Helen Stankiewicz Karita, MD
      Burden and Correlates of Anal HSIL Among Renal Transplant Recipients
    • Jennie Taylor, MD, MPH
      Biomarkers of environmental exposures related to glioma risk among firefighters and controls in the UCSF Adult Glioma Study (AGS)

    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 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 November 2023