University of Minnesota Driven to Discover

In This Issue

Seminar Series
Clinical Trials

Funding Announcements and Opportunities
Employment Opportunities
Aaron Schilz presentingThe Masonic Cancer Center is currently hosting the Cancer Center Administrators Forum at the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot.
For full info:
To follow on social media: #CCAF2019

Seminar Series



  • Alexander Khoruts, MDMedical School, Masonic Cancer Center, MHealth
    Gut check on cancer. UMN Discovery Magazine
  • Veronika Bachanova, MD, PhD, Medical School, Masonic Cancer Center, MHealth
    - Gamida Cell’s Therapy Shows Promise for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma. Lymphoma News Today
    - Big Ten CRC study to help determine maximum dosage of ruxolitinib when combined with nivolumab in Hodgkin lymphoma patients. Big Ten CRC
  • Joseph Gaugler, PhD, Masonic Cancer Center, Nursing
    Alzheimer's talks strike a nerve. Alexandria Echo Press
  • Jaime Modiano, VMD, PhD, and Erin Dickerson, PhD, Masonic Cancer Center, College of Veterinary Medicine
    Dachshunds May Benefit from Hemangiosarcoma Research Advances. Purina Pro Club
  • Jaime Modiano, VMD, PhD, Masonic Cancer Center, College of Veterinary Medicine
    Rottweilers May Benefit from Hemangiosarcoma Research Advances. Purina Pro Club
  • Michael Olin, PhD, Christopher Moertel, MD, and Liz Pluhar, DVM, PhDMasonic Cancer Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, MHealth, Medical School
    Minnesota Scientists Develop Small Peptide to Block Checkpoint Inhibition System in Brain, Possibly Enabling Immunotherapy Treatment of Glioblastoma; Success Seen in Dog Models; Stage 1 Human Clinical Trial Anticipated for Mid-Summer 2019. BioQuick News
  • Ilana Chefetz, PhD, Masonic Cancer Center, Hormel Institute
    Institute's research battles ovarian cancer recurrence; Dr. Ilana Chefetz' discoveries published in top scientific journal. Austin Daily Herald,

Tips for Talking Science with Reporters

Some great information to pass along from URelations.
If you have research that was recently published and want to spread awareness of it, please let us know and we can help you fill out a Research Brief.

Also, if there is a timely topic in the news that you could provide expertise on, let us know and we can fill out an Expert Alert to share with media outlets.

The latest issue of CSR’s Peer Review Notes has several useful tips regarding NIH grant submissions.


Recent publications from the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Women’s Health: 

Chang Z, Talukdar S, Mullany SAWinterhoff B. “Molecular characterization of endometrial cancer and therapeutic implications.” Curr Opin Obstet Gyn. 2019 Feb;31(1):24-30.

Gunderson CC, Erickson BK, Wilkinson-Ryan I, Vesely SK, Leaht CA, Gehrig PA, Moore KN.  Prospective Evaluation of Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer Risk Index Score for Gynecologic Oncology Patients with Febrile Neutropenia. American Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2019 Feb;42(2):138-142.

Kinzy TG, Starr TK, Tseng GC, Ho YY. “Meta-analytic framework for modeling genetic coexpression dynamics.” Stat Appl Genet Mol Biol. 2019 Feb 9;18(1).

Mooneyham A, Iizuka Y, Yang Q, Coombes C, McClellan M, Shridhar V, Emmings E, Shetty M, Chen L, Ai T, Meints J, Lee MK, Gardner M, Bazzaro M. “UNC-45A Is a Novel Microtubule-Associated Protein and Regulator of Paclitaxel Sensitivity in Ovarian Cancer Cells.” Molecular Cancer Research. 2019 Feb; 17(2):370-383. COVER ARTWORK. 

Rosato PC, Wijeyesinghe S, Stolley JM, Nelson CE, Davis RL, Manlove LS, Pennell CA, Blazar BR, Chen CC, Geller MA, Vezys V, Masopust D. “Virus-specific memory T cells populate tumors and can be repurposed for tumor immunotherapy.” Nat Commun. 2019 Feb 4;10(1):567.

Rose PG, Java JJ, Salani R, Geller MA, Secord AA, Tewari KS, Bender DP, Mutch DG, Friedlander ML, Van Le L, Method MW, Hamilton CA, Lee RB, Wenham RM, Guntupalli SR, Markman M, Muggia FM, Armstrong DK, Bookman MA, Burger RA, Copeland LJ. “Nomogram for Predicting Individual Survival After Recurrence of Advanced-Stage, High-Grade Ovarian Carcinoma.” Obstet Gynecol. 2019 Feb;133(2):245-254.

Shaker S, Rivard C, Nahum R, Vogel RITeoh D. “The American College of Surgeon’s surgical risk calculator’s ability to predict disposition in older gynecologic oncology patiens undergoing laparotomy.” J Geriatr Oncol. 2019 Feb 23. 

Skubitz AP, Boylan KL, Geschwind KA, Cao Q, Starr TKGeller MA, Celestino J, Bast RC, Lu KH, Koopmeiners JS. “Simultaneous Measurement of 92 Serum Protein Biomarkers for the Development of a Multi-Protein Classifier for Ovarian Cancer Detection.” Cancer Prev Res. 2019 Feb 1.

Vogel RI, Niendorf K, Petzel S, Lee H, Teoh D, Blaes AH, Argenta PRivard CWinterhoff B, Lee HY, Geller MA. “A patient-centered mobile health application to motivate use of genetic counseling among women with ovarian cancer: A pilot randomized controlled trial.” Gynecol Oncol. 2019 Feb 1. 

Winterhoff B, Talukdar S, Chang Z, Wang J, Starr TK. “Single-cell sequencing in ovarian cancer: a new frontier in precision medicine.” Curr Opin Obstet Gyn. 2019 Feb;31(1):49-55.

Masonic Cancer Center Biannual Report

If you would like a copy of the Biannual Report or multiples for your office, please message

Masonic Cancer Center Social Media
  • Follow the Masonic Cancer Center on 
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April 10, 2019 from 8am-6pm at TCF Bank Stadium

The Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota is hosting its 9th Annual Cancer Research Symposium – we hope you can join us!

This symposium is for MCC faculty, staff, and students to celebrate research accomplishments and to develop new ideas and collaborations!

There is no fee to attend the symposium, but registration is required by March 25, 2019.


Top 3 Overall Abstract Winners
(receive the $1,500 travel award and 15 min presentations at symposium)
Aleksandra Alcheva, MD 
Adam L. Burrack, PhD
David Haynes PhD

RFA Opportunity: The Role of Health Policy and Health Insurance in Improving Access to and Performance of Cancer Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment Services

The American Cancer Society has an RFA opportunity for research that evaluates the impact of changes occurring in the healthcare system with a particular focus on cancer prevention, control, and treatment. Efforts focusing on improving access to care may also impact inequities that contribute to health disparities. Research to be funded by this RFA should focus on the changes in national, state, and/or local policy and the response to these changes by healthcare systems, insurers, payers, communities, practices, and patients.

This grant poses an opportunity to design a trial specifically for the Minnesota Cancer Clinical Trials Network (MNCCTN). MNCCTN is a cancer clinical trials network with 18 locations across Greater Minnesota. The MNCCTN was established in 2017 and provides access to cancer clinical trials at sites in Greater Minnesota where patients have not had access previously. The network is funded by the Minnesota legislature as a part of the University of Minnesota's overall MnDRIVE Strategic Investment Request. Led by the Masonic Cancer Center, MNCCTN and its partner organizations aim to improve cancer outcomes for all Minnesotans through greater access to cancer clinical trials in prevention and treatment.

Funding is up to $200,000 per year for up to five years. To learn about requirements and the application process, visit the American Cancer Society. If you are interested in learning more about the MNCCTN, please contact Marie L. Rahne at

Clinical Trials

The following clinical trials conducted by Masonic Cancer Center members were recently opened:

Research Into Visual Endpoints and RB Health Outcomes After Treatment (RIVERBOAT)
PI: Neglia, Joseph
Expanded Access, Single Patient Use of Panobinostat for the Treatment of H3k27m Mutated High Grade (WHO grade IV) Glioma of the Spine
PI: Neil, Elizabeth
For more information about cancer clinical trials contact the Cancer Information Line (, 612-624-2620) Back to top



MICaB Seminars

All the seminars are on Monday at 12:00 pm in 1-125 CCRB.

Mar. 25    Hubert Tse
April 8     Julie Magarian Blander
April 22   Hongbo Chi
May 6      Tom Gajewski

This seminar is part of an ongoing collaboration with multiple units at the University of Minnesota including

  • The Center for Immunology
  • Clinical Translation Science Institute
  • Masonic Cancer Center
  • Department of Medicine

***2019 Institute for Molecular Virology (IMV) Symposium***

Registration and submission of abstracts for oral and poster presentations
for the 2019 IMV Symposium is now open!
Click below in order to register as well as to submit abstracts for talk and poster presentations:
The deadline for registration and abstract submission is at 5pm on Monday, April 1, 2019

2019 IMV Symposium
Wednesday, May 15th, 2019
8:30am-4:00pm (breakfast & check-in will begin at 7:30am)
Coffman Memorial Union Great Hall
Symposium Reception
Campus Club, Coffman Memorial Union

Keynote Speakers:
Andrew Pekosz, Ph.D. - Johns Hopkins University
Yuan Chang, M.D. - University of Pittsburgh

5th Annual Midwest Tumor Microenvironment Meeting

May 20-22, 2019 University of Notre Dame Harper Cancer Research Institute
Chair: Laurie Littlepage PhD  

Co-organizing Committee:  Donny Hanjaya-Putra Ph.D., Xin Lu Ph.D.,Jeni Prosperi Ph.D.

Location:  Jordan Hall of Science, Notre Dame, IN 46656

Registration: Registration is open! Register and pay fees  HERE.  Each person must complete their own registration.

Abstracts: Submission are due no later than April 12, 2019.  To submit your abstract, click HERE

The tentative full schedule can be viewed here.



Get involved and join the fun

19th Annual Party in the Park - March 18
Kickoff Schedule: 
6:00 pm — Brewery Tour (tentative) 
6:30 pm — Social Time and Registration 
7:00-9:00 pm — Meeting and Celebration

Surly Brewing Company 520 Malcolm Ave SE Minneapolis, MN, 55414

14th Annual Cancer Survivorship Conference

Event Date: 
May 11, 2019

Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center
Bloomington, MN

Full Event Information

The Peer Review Program

The Peer Review Program through the Masonic Cancer Center’s Research Development  Office offers MCC members the opportunity to submit documents for internal peer review prior to external submission. This service is available for a range of documents and can be solicited at any stage throughout the grant/manuscript writing and revision process.

Documents eligible for internal review include:

    • Full research grants
    • Specific Aims outlines for grants in preparation
    • Revision strategies for grants following reviewer comments
    • Manuscripts prior to submission or for resubmission following response to reviewer comments

If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, please fill out the Request for Review Form to help us identify appropriate reviewers and guide their assessment to address your specific needs.

Funding Announcements and Opportunities

News & Notices:

Note the recently released NCI FOAs for R21 and R01 mechanisms that deal with IMMUNITY, MICROBIOME, and CANCER:

PAR-19-199 and PAR-19-198

Modulating Intestinal Microbiota to Enhance Protective Immune Responses against Cancer

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to support research which can elucidate mechanism(s) of action by which gut microbes inhibit or enhance anti-tumor immune responses.  Thus, research projects should be focused on delineating how specific microbes or their metabolites target host immune responses to prevent colitis-associated or sporadic tumor formation.

V Foundation Adult Cancer Translational Award

V Foundation for Cancer Research

*Internal review coordination through the Masonic Cancer Center

One award is allowed from the UMN. Please see the OVPR website for internal nomination application process.


Total $600,000, in three yearly installments of $200,000 each. 10% IDC allowed.

Key Dates:

*MCC Review: One-page description, draft budget and biosketch(s) should be emailed to Elizabeth Fedie by 5pm, April 1st.

Full Application: The selected nominee will be required to submit the fully completed application by the May 30th deadline.


Funding Opportunities:

MCC Spring Internal Pilot Grants

Deadline: April 23, 2019, 5pm

Funding: $775,000 Available

Request for Applications for the following mechanisms:

  • Chainbreaker GOpher A Cure Awards: $75K x 6 awards

  • CRTI Translational Research Grants: $50K x 2 awards

  • Hourglass Integrative Therapies Cancer Research Award: $25K award

  • Mezin-Koats Colon Cancer Research Award: $25K award

  • Minnesota Chemoprevention Consortium Award (MC^2): $50K award

  • Translational Breast Cancer Research Award: $25K award

  • Translational Working Group Awards: $50K x 2 awards

Eligibility: Mechanism awards are available to Masonic Cancer Center members with faculty appointments at the University of Minnesota. All applications must have a cancer-related theme.

Primary selection criteria: Innovation, the quality of the research approach, and the potential for future outside funding. Proposed research must be hypothesis-driven and have the goal of using the award as a springboard to obtaining long-term support from federal/external sources. Each mechanism has additional objectives; consult the application for more guidance.


American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant Spring 2019

Deadline: April 23, 2019, 5:00pm

This one-year grant is for assistant professors who have no independent national funding and are engaged in cancer-related research. The ACS IRG award is $30,000 in direct costs to support the initiation of promising cancer-related research projects which includes cancer etiology, mechanisms of carcinogenesis and chemoprevention, molecular mechanisms of cancer progression and metastasis, development of novel cancer therapeutic or chemoprevention models and translational research, cancer immunology and immunotherapy.
For information, please email Elizabeth Fedie at

Chainbreaker GOpher A Cure Awards

Deadline: April 23, 2019

The goal of the Chainbreaker GOpher A Cure Awards is to foster interdisciplinary collaborations encompassing novel, hypothesis-driven studies of cancer or a cancer-related topic. The proposal must be a joint, collaborative effort by at least two UMN faculty (one must be a Cancer Center member) with at least two or more colleges/schools represented.

Note that all cancer research focused will be considered, with special interest for topics including cancer and focus on prevention, communications, aging, policy, obesity/nutrition or biomedical engineering.

Apply Online at

All questions should be directed to Elizabeth Fedie, MCC Research Development Manager at, 612-624-0653

2019 Rising Star Grants 

Tina’s Wish

Tina’s Wish is committed to supporting early career researchers who bring fresh approaches to the study of the early detection or prevention of ovarian cancer. The goal is to assist and support promising researchers in the ovarian cancer field and to encourage them to take risks
and develop innovative projects.

Funding: The award’s annual total costs of $75,000 are inclusive of indirect costs, which should not exceed 10%. Total grant $150,000 over 2 years.

Application Deadline: April 29th 2019, including this Contact Form.


FY19 DoD Ovarian Cancer Research Program Announcements

The Department of Defense (DOD) released pre-announcements for the Ovarian Cancer Research Program managed by the Department of Defense office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP)  to allow investigators time to plan and develop ideas for submission to the anticipated FY19 funding opportunities.

FY19 funding opportunities are anticipated for the following program:

Ovarian Cancer Research Program

  • Clinical Development Award
  • Investigator Initiated Research Award
  • Ovarian Cancer Academy Award - Early-Career Investigator Award
  • Ovarian Cancer Academy Dean and Assistant Dean (Leadership) Award
  • Pilot Award

FY19 DoD Lung Cancer Research Program Announcements

The Department of Defense (DOD) released pre-announcements for the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program and Neurofibromatosis Research Programs managed by the Department of Defense office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP)  to allow investigators time to plan and develop ideas for submission to the anticipated FY19 funding opportunities.

FY19 funding opportunities are anticipated for the following programs:

Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program

*    Horizon Award (pre and postdoctoral fellows award)

*    Career Development Award

*    Idea Award with Special Focus

*    Impact Award

*    Translational Team Science Award

Neurofibromatosis Research Program (NFRP)

*    Clinical Trial Award

*    Exploration-Hypothesis Development Award

*    Early Investigator Research Award

*    New Investigator Research Award

*    Investigator Initiated Research Award

Cancer Moonshot Funding

Funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) for FY19 are now available and will continue to be published. Several funding opportunities have deadlines in February that are quickly approaching.

Click to view External Funding Opportunities for MCC Members, including NIH and other sponsoring agencies.

Employment Opportunities

Dr. Julia Davydova, Associate Professor of Surgery, is recruiting a postdoctoral fellow to work on developing novel oncolytic adenovirus-based cancer therapeutics.  Applicants should have a PhD or equivalent in Biological sciences with a specialization in the development of cancer therapeutics and/or gene therapy approaches. Candidates with experience in viral vector development, molecular cloning, and immunology will be prioritized.      
Additional details and application information can be found at:

A post-doctoral or research associate position in the Pravetoni lab at the University of Minnesota Medical School is available immediately for individuals interested in development of immunotherapies to reduce opioid use disorders and opioid-related overdoses. Our unique multidisciplinary research program integrates rational vaccine design, immunomodulators, formulation/delivery platforms, pre-clinical models, analysis of B and T cell lymphocyte repertoire, GLP/GMP studies to support regulatory approval and clinical evaluation, and ad hoc industry collaborations. Our team is currently planning Phase I clinical trials of vaccines targeting heroin and oxycodone. Strategies and platforms will be applied to development of vaccines or antibodies against emerging pathogens, and agents of bioterrorism or chemical warfare. We are seeking an independent and motivated colleague interested in leading multidisciplinary projects  as well as team efforts. For our recent publications search PubMed for “Pravetoni M”. Posting can be found at:

Two postdoctoral positions are available in the lab of Ben Hackel for funded projects on protein engineering of novel targeting ligands for cancer therapy. The lab, in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, applies protein engineering technologies to develop in vivo molecular targeting agents for molecular imaging and targeted therapy, with a focus on oncology and infectious disease. We balance (1) fundamental study of molecular evolution and protein biophysics, which empowers our protein engineering efforts; and (2) application of these advances to develop diagnostics and therapeutics for clinical challenges in oncology and infectious disease. We seek motivated researchers with a Ph.D. in any related discipline as we value the diverse perspectives and expertise of an interdisciplinary environment. Experience in molecular biology and protein chemistry are beneficial. A demonstrated record of scientific achievement, including publications and presentations, is essential. A successful candidate will demonstrate strong work ethic, creativity, and productivity. Please send a brief description of your career goals, your curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references to

If you wish to provide UMN medical students with research opportunities in your group, please visit the following site and provide the requested information.

For detailed listings and more employment opportunities.

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