The Stephenson Cancer Center has awarded 10 research grants to cancer investigators as part of its 2018 Pilot Grant Program. These grants support research in a wide range of disciplines. The principal investigators awarded represent numerous departments and colleges on the OU Health Sciences Center and the OU Norman campuses.
The goal of these pilot grants is to provide “seed” funding to promising research projects that will later be submitted for major external grant funding from national researcher sponsors such as the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.
The total awarded amount is $400,000. Individual grants range from $30,000 to $50,000, depending on the scope of the project.
The grants support research projects in the basic, translational, clinical, behavioral, and population sciences. Recipients include five PhDs, four MDs, and one joint MD, PhD. Three of the grants focus on work in blood cancers, such as leukemia. Two focus on cancer survivorship, an emerging research focus at the Stephenson Cancer Center.

Researchers who received funding in the 2018 cycle are:
Thanh Bui, MD, DrPH, Assistant Professor of Research, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center, Stephenson Cancer Center. Promoting Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV) Uptake in High-Risk Adults
Anna Csiszár, MD, PhD
Donald W. Reynolds Chair of Aging Research
Associate Professor, Department of Geriatric Medicine, OU College of Medicine. New Model of Chemobrain: Causes and Consequences
Kathleen Dwyer, PhD, RN
Henry Freede Endowed Chair in Nursing Science Professor, OU College of Nursing. Care Coordination for Cherokee Nation Cancer Patients: Perspectives of Stakeholder
Asish Ghosh, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Pathology, OU College of Medicine. Extracellular Vesicles Reprogram T Cell Immunity in CLL
Jennifer Holter-Chakrabarty, MD
Associate Professor, Section of Hematology/Oncology, OU College of Medicine. FLT Imaging to Detect Relapse in Leukemia Patients Following Transplantation
Courtney Houchen, MD
Professor of Medicine, Department of Gastroenterology, OU College of Medicine. The Role of Tumor Stem Cells in Inflammation Mediated Pancreatic Cancer Initiation
Darla Kendzor, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine,
Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center, Stephenson Cancer Center.
Automated Mobile Contingency Management for Smoking Cessation
Chuanbin Mao, PhD
George Lynn Cross Research Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Oklahoma.
Immune Checkpoint Inhibiting Bionanofibers for Cancer Immunotherapy
Katherine Moxley, MD
Assistant Professor, Section of Gynecologic Oncology, OU College of Medicine. DCLK-1 Regulates Chemotherapy Response in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer
Yuchen Qiu, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Gallogly College of Engineering, University of Oklahoma.
Development of Lens-free Scanning Microscopy to Facilitate the Leukemia Diagnosis
Grant funding is made possible through the following:
National Cancer Institute (NCI). In 2018, the Stephenson Cancer Center was awarded a Cancer Center Support Grant from the NCI, which conferred the prestigious and highly competitive NCI-Designation status on the cancer center. The grant provides developmental funding to support pilot grants.
MidFirst Bank. The Pink Visa Debit Card Program offered through MidFirst Bank supports the fight against breast cancer. For every checking account opened with direct deposit, plus the first-time use of a new Pink Debit Card, MidFirst Bank donates $50 to the Stephenson Cancer Center. To date, more than $1.4 million has been raised for research related to breast cancer.
Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET). An endowment created by the voters in 2000 to improve the health of Oklahomans, TSET is dedicated to reducing the state’s leading causes of preventable death – cancer and cardiovascular disease – caused by tobacco use and obesity.
The Stephenson Cancer Center annually solicits promising research proposals from member researchers. Cancer center program leaders evaluate and select high-potential proposals to be funded from this pool.

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