By M. Sharon Stack, Executive Director, Harper Cancer Research Institute
The end of the academic year is a good time to reflect on our accomplishments. Our 3rd annual Research Day showcased the year-long efforts of our trainees—and was a huge success with 80 poster presentations and 200 attendees. As HCRI continues to grow, this event provides a welcome and much-needed opportunity for us to educate one another on the significant cancer-focused research being conducted here on campus.
To this end, participants were drawn from the Colleges of Science, Engineering, and Arts & Letters at Notre Dame, as well as Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend. Enthusiastic conversations were heard throughout Harper Hall as research progress was discussed and new collaborations planned. Mark your calendars now for the 4th annual Research Day on April 13, 2015 and continue to visit our website regularly for the latest news updates and information on upcoming events.
Another highlight of the late spring and early summer is the opportunity to award seed funding to strengthen research and training programs and bring bright minds from other disciplines into the cancer research arena. New to the HCRI portfolio this year are the Research Like a Champion Awards —funded by Steve and Patti DuFour—that provided grants to support three projects conceived and submitted by teams of students. These awards empower students to drive innovation in cancer research.
Through the continued generous support of the Walther Cancer Foundation (WCF), we are again able to offer competitive grants in three areas:
- The Advancing Basic Cancer (ABC) grants are designed to establish new integrative collaborative teams focused on targeted deliverables (extramural grants, intellectual property);
- An innovative training program, Engineering Novel Solutions to Cancer’s Challenges at the Interdisciplinary Interface (the ENSCCII Training Project), supports highly competitive pre- and post-doctoral fellows to receive joint mentorship from two faculty members in distinct scientific fields, enhancing the preparedness of the future cancer workforce; and
- Both the WCF and Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center support the Seeding Research in Cancer (SRC) program that provides pilot funds to seed the development of new projects or generate key data to support a grant application.
We received a record number of applications for these awards that are currently under review and I look forward to sharing highlights of this research in the coming year.