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UTHealth-CPRIT Innovation in Cancer Prevention Research Training Program: Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships

Jumpstart your research career in cancer prevention! Our multi-school training program is available to help you prepare for a research career. Scroll down to find out more.

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Join outstanding doctoral students and postdocs from diverse disciplines in UTHealth Houston, who are committed to a career in cancer prevention research and health equity!

Now accepting applications for postdoctoral and doctoral fellowships!

Our program, sponsored by the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas, trains early doctoral and postdoctoral scholars to:

  • ask important questions
  • apply the tools of innovative thinking and cutting-edge research methods
  • engage in trans-disciplinary teams
  • tackle cancer disparities
  • move the field of cancer prevention forward

Applicants should have a project focused on cancer prevention, including any of the following

  • identifying cancer risk factors
  • addressing personal and organizational risk factors and exposures
  • promoting vaccine protection
  • detecting cancer early
  • reducing side effects from treatment
  • supporting cancer survivors

cprit multi-school diagram

We recruit from the Schools of Bioinformatics, Public Health (all campuses), Biomedical Sciences, and McGovern Medical School.

All fellows take part in an integrative seminar in the spring and fall semesters of the fellowship, take short courses from other schools, lead sessions for the summer undergraduate trainees, and work on joint projects.

Cancer Prevention Fields include:

  • Public health informatics
  • Economic & policy analysis
  • Epidemiology & genetics
  • Cancer disparities & community engagement
  • Data science & novel informatics approaches
  • Digital health technologies
  • Human factors engineering
  • EHR optimization
  • Intervention design, implementation, & scale-up
  • Biomarker discovery
  • Cancer genomics
  • Entrepreneurial technology

About Our Funding Agency

The program is generously funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas grant (RP#210042). The CPRIT program was created in 2007 as part of a voter-approved constitutional amendment authorizing the state to issue $3 billion in bonds to fund groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs and services in Texas, and it was renewed in 2021.

You can find out more about CPRIT on their website: https://www.cprit.state.tx.us/ 

CPRIT-Logo-print-Horz-color

Doctoral Fellowships

Seeking applicants committed to a career in cancer prevention research!

Members of underrepresented minority groups are highly encouraged to apply.

Applications are due October 21, 2022, at 11:59 pm. The start date is January 1st, 2023.

Eligibility

  • U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and international visa holders
  • Enrolled in the UTHealth School Public Health (all campuses), School of Biomedical Informatics, or Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
  • Residence in Texas during the fellowship

Program Benefits

  • Full fellows receive up to three years of support
  • $28,000 stipend and student health insurance
  • $1,000 travel expenses for presentations at scientific meetings
  • Tuition and fees, books, software, and laptop/tablet
  • Training and coaching in innovative thinking 
  • Writing consultations, training in compelling oral presentations, and career development skills
  • Transdisciplinary research seminars and cross-discipline training

Note: Additional research expenses must be paid by the mentor

Doctoral affiliate fellows (with stipend/salary support from employment or other cancer research fellowships) receive the benefits listed above EXCEPT stipend support and student health insurance.

How to apply

Complete the doctoral application here: https://redcap.link/cprit_doctoral_application

Application checklist for required application materials.

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions, you can review them in our Applicant FAQ.

Fellowship Information Sessions (30-minutes)

Connect to uthealth.webex.com/join/patricia.d.mullen during any of the following information sessions to know more about the program. No registration is required.

  • September 28, Wednesday 8:30 am
  • October 3, Monday 12:00 pm
  • October 10, Monday 5:00 pm
  • October 11, Tuesday 8:00 am
  • October 17th, Monday 12:00 pm

Postdoctoral Fellowships

Seeking applicants committed to a career in cancer prevention research!

Members of underrepresented minority groups are highly encouraged to apply.

Applications are due October 21, 2022, at 11:59 pm. The start date is January 1st, 2023.

Program Benefits

Full fellowships

  • 2 years of support, NRSA level stipend, starting at $54,835 + health insurance
  • $2,000 travel expenses for presentations at scientific meetings
  • Tuition and fees, books, software, and laptop/tablet*
  • Training and coaching in innovative thinking
  • Editing and training in compelling oral presentations - Trans-disciplinary research seminars and cross-disciplinary training.

* Additional research expenses should be paid by mentor.

Affiliate fellowships available for postdocs with salary/stipend support from employment or other cancer fellowships: All benefits listed above except stipend support and health insurance.

How to apply

Complete the postdoctoral application here: https://redcap.link/cprit_postdoc_application

Application checklist for required application materials.

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions, you can review them in our Applicant FAQ.

Fellowship Information Sessions (30-minutes)

Connect to uthealth.webex.com/join/patricia.d.mullen during any of the following information sessions to know more about the program. No registration is required.

  • September 19, Monday 8:00 am
  • September 22, Thursday 4:00 pm
  • September 26, Monday 12:00 pm
  • September 28, Wednesday 8:30 am
  • October 3, Monday 12:00 pm
  • October 10, Monday 5:00 pm
  • October 11, Tuesday 8:00 am
  • October 17th, Monday 12:00 pm

Innovative Thinking

Take the Massive Open Online Course on Innovative Thinking by Roberta B. Ness, M.D., M.P.H., who literally wrote the book(s) on innovation.

books 1books 2

Click on the photo below to see Dr. Ness's TedXHouston talk, "Innovative thinking: Can you be taught?"

Ness Ted Talk 1

Click on the photo below to see Dr. Ness’s TedMed Talk “Reinventing our scientific future

Ness Ted Talk 2

Innovation Generation Tools Definitions

Ness, Roberta B. Innovation Generation: How to Produce Creative and Useful Scientific Ideas. Oxford University Press, 2012.

CPRIT Fellowship Alumni

Completed predoctoral projects

Name + Project Title
Position + Institution
Sharangdhar Phatak, PhD (Computational models to design safer anti-cancer therapeutics) Head of Platforms, Life Biosciences, Cambridge, MA
Sahiti Myneni, PhD, MSE (Attributing meaning to online social network analysis for tailored socio-behavioral support systems) Assistant Professor (ten track) - UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics
Jessica Hernandez Chacon, PhD (Activating the 4-1BB pathway for the expansion of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes for adoptive T-cell therapy for metastatic melanoma patients) Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Education, Texas Tech University Health Science Center, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, El Paso, TX
*Ebun Odeneye Ebunlomo, PhD, MCHES, MPH (Health promotion, not cancer prevention: Nigerian women and breast health) Evaluation Fellow - Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, National Center for Chronic Dis-ease Prevention & Health Promotion, Atlanta
Silvia Ferrati, PhD (Nanochannel implant for constant and sustained delivery of therapeutics for pancreatic cancer)  Research Scientist Translational, Aeglea BioTherapeutics, Austin, TX
Sanchaika Gaur, PhD (The role of MIR-34a in inhibiting prostate tumor growth in the bone and the induction of apoptosis and a novel form autophagy) Postdoctoral Scientist - Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles
*Renke Zhou, PhD (A flexible semiparametric joint model for semi-competing risks data with missing cause of informative terminal event) Senior Biostatistician (appt in process to Assistant Professor) - Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
Andrew Aschenbrenner (Multivariate analysis in RNA-Seq expression data) Instructor, Washington University at St. Louis, Department of Neurology, St. Louis, MO
Jose (Franck) Diaz Vasquez, PhD (Systematic data quality assessment for the reliable reuse of clinical data in research) Research Associate, Health Informatics - WakeHealth
Krit Ritthipichai, PhD, MS, DVM (Uncovering the role of RNA-binding protein with multiple slicing in tumor infiltrating lymphocytes) Senior Scientist, Iovance Biotherapeutics, Tampa, FL
Zhiguo “Stanley” Yu, MS, PhD (A new and improved way to explore and understand PubMed citations) Data Scientist, Microsoft Research, Assistant and Intelligence Team, Microsoft, Bellevue, WA
Ming Cao, PhD (Improved statistical inference for social networks by combining exponential random graph models and latent space models) Senior Data Scientist, Prognos AI, New York, NY
David Savage, MD, PhD (Role of UBE4B in neuroblastoma chemotherapy sensitivity) Resident Physician - Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Internal Medicine, Cleveland Ohio
Muhammad “Tuan” Amith (Design and architecture of an ontology-driven dialogue system of HPV vaccine counseling) Assistant Professor (Research), School of Biomedical Informatics, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX

*predoctoral affiliate

Completed postdoctoral projects

Name + Project Title
Position + Institution
Marcia C. de Oliveira Otto, PhD (Identifying novel approaches to dietary assessment methods) Assistant Professor (ten track) - Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, & Environmental Sciences, UTHealth School of Public Health
Meng Chen, PhD (Pathway analysis of bladder cancer genome-wide association study identifies novel pathways involved in bladder cancer development) Duncan Family Institute Mentored Junior Faculty Fellow, Department of Epidemiology, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
Heidi Russell, MD, PhD (Dose reduction strategies for low-risk rhabdomyosarcoma: using cost comparisons to help decide between two chemotherapy regimens with similar outcomes) Associate Professor (currently on leave) - Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology-Oncology, Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital
Katherine Hutcheson, PhD (High burden of late effects upon entry into head & neck survivorship care) Associate Professor, Department of Head & Neck Surgery Section of Speech Pathology & Audiology, Division of Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Mary McGuire, PhD (Cancer and embryogenesis share common pathways at the molecular level) Assistant Professor (ten track) & Director, Advanced Medical Consulting Group - Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, UTHealth Med School
Jane Richards Montealegre, PhD, MSPH (Ethnographic mapping identifies a productive and feasible venue for a community evaluation of self-sample HPV testing with cytology triage among Latina immigrant screening non-attendees in Harris County, Texas) Assistant Director, Community Outreach & Engagement, Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Hung Luu, MD, PhD, MPH (The role of toll-like receptors in cervical dysplasia) Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh & Member, Cancer Epidemiology & Prevention Program, Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburg, PA
Janet Macheledt, MD, MPH (Cancer screening recommendations: A re-evaluation of the data) Physician - Methodist Oncology Partners, Hematology-Oncology, Houston Methodist West Hospital
Thanh Cong Bui, MD, DrPH, MPH (Oral hygiene, oral health, and oral HPV infection) Assistant Professor of Research, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, Oklahoma City, OK
Zhenlong Li, PhD (A multiscale computational platform for the rational design of folate-receptor -specific drug nanocarriers) Research Associate - Department of Physiology & Biostatistics, Weil Cornell Medical College, NYC
Azam Mandana Yazdani, PhD (Identification of causal structures in multi-omic data: Using data from different granularities) Postdoctoral Fellow - CPRIT Fellowship in Computational Biology, UTHealth School of Public Health
Jingjing Jiao, MD, PhD (Molecular characteristics of high prevalence of Hepatocellular carcinoma and underlying liver disease in Hispanics) Instructor, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology
Sara Prijic, PhD, DVM (Breast cancer metastasis: What does cholesterol have to do with it?) Senior Scientist, Alkermes Inc., Waltham, MA
Arzu Ulu, PhD, MSc (A novel target in breast cancer metastasis: Role of Net1A in breast cancer cell motility) Assistant Project Scientist, University of California, Riverside, Division of Biomedical Sciences, Riverside, CA
Jing Gong, PhD (Integrative analysis of complex diseases; high-throughput data mining; non-coding RNA analysis) Department of Bioinformatics faculty position in China
Hidetaka Tanno, PhD (High-throughput screening of TCR antigen specificity, Kanae foundation for the promotion of medical science) Project Leader, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science

Contact us

For more information regarding the fellowship, please email CPRITFellowships@uth.tmc.edu, or call 713.500.9658. Patricia Dolan Mullen, Co-Director.

Photo of, from left to right: Dr. Maria Fernandez, Dr. Cui Toa, Dr. Patricia Dolan Mullen, and Dr. Natalie Sirisaengtaksin.

Program Director

Maria E. Fernández, PhD
Lorne Bain Distinguished Professor in Public Health and Medicine
Director, Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research
Professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health
Director, Texas Prevention Research Center

Program Co-Directors

Patricia Dolan Mullen, DrPH, MLS
The University of Texas System Distinguished Teaching Professor
President’s Scholar
Minnie Stevens Piper Professor

Cui Tao, PhD
Professor of Bioinformatics
Director of the UTHealth Center for Biomedical Semantics and Data Intelligence
The Dr. Doris L. Ross Professorship
Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) recipient

Natalie Sirisaengtaksin, PhD
Program Manager, Academic Affairs
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Executive Committee 

Alanna Morrison, PhD - Prof & Chair, Dept of Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sci; Director, Ctr for Human Genetics (SPH) Hua Xu, PhD - Robert H. Graham Prof in Entrepreneurial Biomedical Informatics & Bioengineering; Director, Ctr for Computational Biomedicine; CPRIT Scholar (SBMI)
Belinda Reininger, DrPH - Prof, Dept of Health Promotion & Behavioral Sci; Dean, Brownsville Campus (SPH) Xiaoqian Jiang, PhD - Prof & Director, Ctr for Secure Artificial intelligence for Healthcare; CPRIT Rising Star (SBMI)
George Delclos, MD, PhD - Prof, Dept of Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sci; Director, Employee Health Clinic (SPH) Zhiqiang An, PhD - Prof, Molecular Medicine; Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Chemistry; Director, Texas Therapeutic Institute (Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine), McGovern Med School (GSBS)
Elmer Bernstam, MD, MSE - Prof of Biomedical Informatics & Internal Medicine (McGovern Med School) & GSBS; SBMI Assoc Dean for Research; Director, CCTS Biomedical Informatics Group Michael Blackburn, PhD - Exec VP & Chief Academic Officer, UTHealth; GSBS Dean & John P. McGovern Distinguished Prof of Biomedical Sci; Prof & William S. Kilroy, Sr. Distinguished University Chair in Pulmonary Disease , McGovern Med School
Shine Chang, PhD - UT System Distinguished Teaching Prof & Ashbel Smith Prof, Dept of Epidemiology; Director, Cancer Prevention Research Training Prog (UT MDA Cancer Ctr)  Melissa Aldrich, PhD – Asst Prof, Ctr for Molecular Imaging, McGovern Med School

Cancer Prevention Innovation Scholars

Daniel Harrington, PhD (GSBS)

Sahiti Myneni, PhD, MSE (SBMI)

Ross Shegog, PhD (SPH)

Lead Coordinators

Melissa Valerio, PhD, MPH (SPH)

Susan Fenton, PhD (SBMI)

Raquel Y. Salinas, PhD (GSBS)

Angela Ross, DNP, MPH (SBMI)

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