- New CRI health equity program supports young Black, Hispanic, and Latino scientists in the fields of immunology and immuno-oncology at top academic research institutions
- Three-year fellowships provide research funding and career development under the mentorship of world-leading immunologists and tumor immunologists
NEW YORK, July 22, 2021 — The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), a U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated to saving more lives through the discovery and development of powerful immunotherapies for all cancers, announced today that it has awarded three fellowship awards to young Black, Hispanic, and Latino scientists as part of its new health equity initiative designed to promote racial and ethnic diversity and inclusivity in academic research in the fields of immunology and tumor immunology.
The CRI Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship to Promote Racial Diversity, launched this year, seeks to address barriers to academic career advancement for Black, Hispanic, and Latino scientists by providing fellows with $175,500 over three years to support their research and career training under the mentorship of world-leading immunologists and tumor immunologists at top academic research institutions. Diversity fellows also will be provided opportunities to present their work to the CRI scientific community during various meetings, including the CRI-ENCI-AACR International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference and other workshops organized by CRI.
The program is an extension of the long-established CRI Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, which since 1971 has supported more than 1,400 fellows worldwide. The program seeks hypothesis-driven, mechanistic studies in both immunology and tumor immunology that aim to directly impact our understanding of the immune system’s role in cancer.
“Facilitating diversity in the sciences is absolutely critical because only by bringing in all of the best and brightest minds from our society can we solve the complex questions in cancer research that lie before us,” said James P. Allison, Ph.D., director of CRI’s Scientific Advisory Council and 2018 Nobel laureate, who also sits on CRI’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Review Committee. The committee evaluates a competitive pool of applications based on the academic merits of the scientist, the novelty and potential impact of the proposed project, and the research and training environment, ensuring only the highest quality applicants are selected for funding.
The inaugural recipients of the CRI Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship to Promote Racial Diversity are:
- Ryan K. Alexander, Ph.D., in the laboratory of Hidde Pleogh, Ph.D., at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he is exploring a modular strategy for targeting pancreatic cancer with nanobody-based CAR T cells and macrophages
- Nelson M. LaMarche, Ph.D., in the laboratory of Miriam Merad, M.D., Ph.D., at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where he is studying macrophage lifespan development (ontogeny) within the context of lung cancer immunotherapy
- Christopher B. Medina, Ph.D., in the laboratory of Rafi Ahmed, Ph.D. at Emory University, where he is working to define the unique classes of inhibitory receptor molecules during CD8+ T cell exhaustion
The CRI Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship to Promote Racial Diversity is made possible with generous support from Bristol Myers Squibb and Genentech.
“Diverse perspectives and experiences are essential for continued scientific advancement and innovation,” said Samantha Gothelf, vice president, U.S. Medical Oncology for Bristol Myers Squibb. “Bristol Myers Squibb is pleased to continue our support of the Cancer Research Institute and congratulates the inaugural recipients of the CRI Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship to Promote Racial Diversity.”
To view our full roster of 2021 grant and fellowship award recipients, visit cancerresearch.org/funding. More information about CRI’s grants, fellowships, and other programs is available at cancerresearch.org/grants.
Brian Brewer, Chief Communications Officer
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About the Cancer Research Institute
The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), established in 1953, is a highly rated U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to saving more lives by fueling the discovery and development of powerful immunotherapies for all cancers. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes four Nobel laureates and 27 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested $474 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world’s leading medical centers and universities, and has contributed to many of the key scientific advances that demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy to change the face of cancer treatment. To learn more, go to cancerresearch.org.
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