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Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas UTHealth Fellowships

Jumpstart your research career in cancer prevention and control! Our interdisciplinary training program is available to help students prepare for independent research or faculty positions.

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UTHealth-CPRIT Innovation in Cancer Prevention Research Training Program

Our program recruits scholars from diverse disciplines to ask the important research questions, apply the tools of innovative thinking and cutting edge methods, engage in trans-disciplinary teams and move the field of cancer forward in big, not baby, steps.

We offer both full-time training support via pre-and post-doctoral fellowships and affiliate fellowships for those who are interested in our training but who already have employment or training support.  All fellows have access to an integrative seminar in summer, fall, and spring 2020 with faculty and other trainees from diverse disciplines and perspectives on cancer prevention.

To learn more about our grant, view the abstract and significance statement for our current cycle.

Contact cpritfellowships@uth.tmc.edu or 713-500-9476 for further information.

About CPRIT

The program is generously funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas grant (RP#160015). 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 2019.

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

Predoctoral Innovation in Cancer Prevention Research Training Program

Continued support depends on availability of funding.

Seeking applicants committed to a career in cancer prevention research! 

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
  • Available for the summer session:  May 18-Aug 10
  • Residence in Texas during the fellowship

Note:  Members of underrepresented minority groups are encouraged to apply

Program Benefits

  • $28,000 stipend and student health insurance
  • $1,000 travel expenses for presentations at national meetings
  • Tuition and fees, books, software, and laptop/tablet
  • Training and coaching in innovative thinking
  • Writing consultations, training in compelling oral presentations and research proposals
  • Interdisciplinary research seminars with sessions on application of innovative thinking tools, team science, and career development skills

Note: Research expenses must be paid by the mentor

Doctoral affiliate fellows (with 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 predoctoral application and submit all materials to cpritfellowships@uth.tmc.edu  
  • Please label the emails as: Last_First_App Materials
  • Review the predoctoral application checklist on the application

We've complied a list of frequently asked questions, you can review them in our Applicant FAQ.

Applications for the 2020 cycle are now closed.

Current fellows

xiao Dong
Xiao Dong

UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics

CPRIT Project Title: Discovering new anti-neoplastic uses for existing non-cancer drugs by processing and analyzing EHRs through NLP

CV

Select Publications:

  • Chen H, Shi L, Xue M, Wang N, Dong X, Cai Y, Chen J, Zhu W, Xu H, Meng Q. Geographic variations in in-hospital mortality and use of percutaneous coronary intervention following acute myocardial infarction in China: a nationwide cross-sectional analysis. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2018 Apr 11. doi:10.1161/JAHA.117.00813          
  • Miao S, Dong X (co-first author), Zhang X, Jing S, Zhang X, Xu T, Wang L, Du X, Xu H, Liu Y. Detecting Pioglitazone Use and Risk of Cardiovascular Events Using Electronic Health Record Data in a Large Cohort of Chinese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. (J Diabetes. 2019 Aug;11(8):684-689. doi: 10.1111/1753-0407.12894. Epub 2019 Feb 5.)
  • Tu H, Sun L, Dong X, Gong Y, Xu Q, Jing J, Bostick R, Wu X, Yuan Y. A serological biopsy using five stomach-specific circulating biomarkers for gastric cancer risk assessment: a multi-phase study.  Am J Gastroenterol. 2017 Mar 21. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2017.55.
  • Dong X, Zhang Y, and Xu H. Search Datasets in Literature: A Case Study of GWAS. 2017 Joint Summits on Translational Science of AMIA
  • Cao K, Lailler N, Zhang Y, Kumar A, Uppal K, Liu Z, Lee E, Wu H, Medrzycki M, Pan C, Ho P, Cooper P,  Dong  X, Bock C, Bouhassira E, Fan Y. High-resolution mapping of h1 linker histone variants in embryonic stem cells. PLoS Genet. 2013;9(4)
Brittany Jewel
Brittany Jewell

UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences – Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Houston, TX

CPRIT Project Title: Cellular mechanisms associated with osteosarcomagenesis in Rothmund-Thomson Syndrome

CV

Select Publications:

  • Jewell BE, Liu M, Lu L, Zhou R, Tu J, Zhu D, Huo Z, Xu A, Wang D, Mata H, Jin W, Xia W, Rao, P, Zhao R, Hung MC, Wang LL, Lee DF. Generation of an induced pluripotent stem cell line from an individual with a heterozygous RECQL4 mutation. Stem Cell Res. 2018 October 9; 33: 36-40. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2018.10.003
  • Xu A, Zhou R, Tu J, Huo Z, Zhu D, Wang D, Gingold J, Mata H, Rao, P, Liu M, Mohammed AMT, Kong CSL, Jewell BE, Xia W, Zhao R, Hung MC, Lee DF. Establishment of a human embryonic stem cell line with homozygous TP53 R248W mutant by TALEN mediated gene editing. Stem Cell Res. 2018 Apr 3; 29:215-219. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2018.04.013.
  • Zhou R, Xu A, Wang D, Zhu D, Mata H, Huo Z, Tu J, Liu M, Mohamed AMT, Jewell BE, Gingold J, Xia W, Rao PH, Hung MC, Zhao R, Lee DF.A homozygous p53 R282W mutant human embryonic stem cell line generated using TALEN-mediated precise gene editing. Stem Cell Res. 2018 Jan 26;27:131-135. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2018.01.035.
  • Lin YH*, Jewell BE*, Gingold J*, Lu L, Zhao R, Wang LL, Lee DF. Cancer Etiology of Osteosarcoma: From Inherited Syndromes to Molecular Pathogenesis. Trends in Molecular Medicine. 2017 Aug. 23(8):737-755. doi: 10.1016
    *co-first authors
  • Flores AR, Jewell BE, Yelamanchili D, Olsen RJ, and Musser JM. A Single Amino Acid Replacement in the Sensor Kinase LiaS Contributes to a Carrier Phenotype in Group A Streptococcus. Infection and Immunity. 2015 November. 83(11):4237-46. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00656-15.
Vinay Nair
Vinay Nair

UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences – Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Houston, TX

CPRIT Project Title: Investigating the effects of transmembrane potential on cell proliferation

CV

Select Publications:

  • Lin, X., Nair, V., Zhou, Y., & Gorfe, A. A. (2018). Membrane potential and dynamics in a ternary lipid mixture: insights from molecular dynamics simulations. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 20(23), 15841-15851.
  • Gurav, A., Nair, V., Gupta, U., & Valadi, J. (2014, December). Glowworm swarm based informative attribute selection using support vector machines for simultaneous feature selection and classification. In International Conference on Swarm, Evolutionary, and Memetic Computing (pp. 27-37). Springer, Cham.
  • Nair, V., Dutta, M., Manian, S. S., Kumari, R., & Jayaraman, V. K. (2013). Identification of Penicillin-binding proteins employing support vector machines and random forest. Bioinformation, 9(9), 481.
  • Nair, V., Sambre, D., Joshi, S., Bankar, A., Ravi Kumar, A., & Zinjarde, S. (2013). Yeast-derived melanin mediated synthesis of gold nanoparticles. Journal of Bionanoscience, 7(2), 159-168.
saleh ramezani
Saleh Ramenzani

UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences – Diagnostic & Biomedical Sciences

CPRIT Project Title: Building a biomimetic colon surface for targeting tumor heterogeneity for MRI applications

CV

Select publications:

  • S. Ramezani, W. Chen, and A.W.L. Chiu, “Analysis of Glutamatergic and GABAergic Receptor Dynamics in Coupled Oscillator Neural Model.”, Journal of Modeling and Simulation” Vol. 33, No. 3, 2013
  • L. Nguyen, D. Robinton, M. Seligson, L. Wu, L. Li, D. Rakheja, S. Comerford, S. Ramezani, X. Sun, M. Parikh, E. Yang, J Powers, G. Shinoda, S. Shah, R. Hammer, G. Daley, H. Zhu, “Lin28b is sufficient to drive liver cancer and necessary for its maintenance in murine models”, Cancer Cell, 2014 Aug 11; 26(2): 248-61
  • S. Moeendarbari, R. Tekade, A. Mulgaonkar, P. Christensen, S. Ramezani, G. Hassan, R. Jiang, O. Öz, Y. Hao, X. Sun, “Theranostic nanoseeds for efficacious internal radiation therapy of unresectable solid tumors”, Sci Rep. 2016; 6: 20614
  • R. Swiercz, S. Chiguru, A. Tahmasbi, S. Ramezani, G. Hao, D. Challa, M. Lewis, P. Kulkarni, X. Sun, R. Ober, R. Mason, S. Ward, “Use of Fc-engineered antibodies as clearing agents to increase contrast during PET”, J. Nucl Med.; Vol. 55, No. 7, 2014.
  • T. Zhao, G. Huang, Y. Li, S. Yang, S. Ramezani, Z. Lin, Y. Wang, X. Ma, Z. Zeng, M. Luo, E. Boer, X. Xie, J. Thibodeaux, R. Brekken, X. Sun, B. Sumer, J. Gao, “A transistor-like pH nanoprobe for tumour detection and image-guided surgery”, Nature Biomedical Engineering 1, 0006, 2016

Postdoctoral Innovation in Cancer Prevention Research Training Program

Continued support depends on availability of funding.

Seeking applicants committed to a career in cancer prevention research!

Eligibility

  • U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and international visa holders
  • PhD, DrPH, MD, or other doctoral degree
  • Work in a UTHealth lab/research project currently or have one in mind
  • Available for the summer session:  May 18-Aug 10
  • Residence in Texas during the fellowship

Note:  Members of underrepresented minority groups are encouraged to apply

Program Benefits

  • $51,000 salary, full benefits, books, and software/tablet
  • $2,000 in travel expenses to present at national conferences
  • Training and coaching in innovative thinking
  • Writing consultations, training in compelling oral presentations and research proposals
  • Trans-disciplinary research seminars with sessions on application of innovative thinking, team science, and other career development skills

Note: Research expenses must be paid by the mentor

Postdoctoral affiliate fellows (with salary support from employment or other cancer research fellowships) receive all benefits listed above except salary support and health insurance. 

How to apply

  • Complete the postdoctoral application and submit all materials to cpritfellowships@uth.tmc.edu  
  • Please label the emails as: Last_First_App Materials
  • Review the postdoctoral application checklist on the application

We've complied a list of frequently asked questions, you can review them in our Applicant FAQ.

Applications for the 2020 cycle are now closed.

Current fellows

Nathalie Sirisaengtaksin
Natalie Sirisaengtaksin

UTHealth McGovern Medical School – Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

CPRIT Project Title: Engineering bacterial outer membrane vesicles for personalized cancer therapy

CV

hidetaka tanno
Hidetaka Tanno

The University of Texas at Austin, The McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering

CPRIT Project Title: High-throughput analysis of immune receptor repertoire in cancer patients

CV

Executive committee

PI and Chair

Roberta B. Ness, MD, MPH

Program Director

Patricia Dolan Mullen, DrPH

Curriculum Coordinators

Sahiti Myeni, PhD, MSE

Executive Committee

Zhiqiang An, PhD
Elmer V. Bernstam, MD, MSE
Shine Chang, PhD
George Delclos, MD, PhD, MPH
Myriam Fornage, PhD
Alanna C. Morrison, PhD
Sally W. Vernon, PhD
Hua Xu, PhD

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

Contact us

For more information regarding the fellowship, please email CPRITFellowships@uth.tmc.edu, or call 713.500.9476.

  • 2020 PREDOCTORAL FELLOWS

    Meet Shwetha V. Kumar and Cong Zhu 

    Two School of Public Health doctoral students have been appointed to the UTHealth – CPRIT (Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas) Innovation in Cancer Prevention Research Training Program.

    READ MORESPH - CPRIT - 2020 Fellows

    Kumar and Zhu
  • SEE OUR IMPACT

    Understanding how one dose of the HPV vaccine may prevent infection

    A new study revealed that one dose of the HPV vaccine may prevent infection from the potential cancer-causing virus, according to research published in JAMA Network Open by UTHealth School of Public Health researchers.

    READ MORESPH - Our Impact - HPV dosage slider

    Study authors Ashish Deshmukh, PhD, MPH; and Kalyani Sonawane, PhD. Photo by Maricruz Kwon.
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