Research and Scholarly Opportunities

During the 18 months of protected, structured research time, fellows can engage in a wide variety of research opportunities. These include laboratory, translation, and clinical research, quality improvement projects, health services or health outcomes research, and educational research. The purpose of this time is to help fellows develop a foundation for becoming leaders in their chosen field. Components of the research structure includes:

  • Mentored Fellowship Tracks (Laboratory, Clinical/Translational, Clinician, Clinician Educator): Fellows will choose a track depending on their career goals, which will help to shape their 18 months of research time, including opportunities and expectations.
  • Mentorship Committees: Fellows choose a mentorship committee at the end of their first year, which will include their research mentors, faculty advisor, and other mentors. The committee meets every 6 months with the fellow to review goals, progress, and opportunities.
  • Supplemental education: Fellows may apply for tuition assistance from the Division for courses, certificates, or degrees at the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Clinical Research Education.
  • Research in Progress Conferences: Fellows have the opportunity to present their research in progress once a year at these monthly conferences, with feedback provided by faculty and peers.
  • A vast network of research mentors and opportunities. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is also involved in clinical trials with the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), which is located in Pittsburgh.
  • Benign Hematology track: Specialized track designed for fellows who aim for an academic career in hematology. This includes focused mentorship from benign hematology faculty, research opportunities through the Vascular Medicine Institute (VMI) or the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation, focused electives in benign hematology, and opportunity to be on a VMI T32 training grant

Here are some examples of current fellows’ research projects:

  • Optimal Management of Oligometastatic Head & Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (Fellow: Steve Borson, MD | Mentor: Dan Zandberg)
  • Patient Reported Outcomes and Health Care Utilization of Survivorship Clinic Patients (Fellow: Kristine Gade, MD | Mentor: Josie van Londen, MD)
  • Characteristics of Young Patients with Squamous Cell carcinoma of the Head and Neck Who had Poor Outcomes (Fellow: Ronan Hsieh, MD | Mentor: Dan Zandberg, MD)
  • Combining Targeted and Immunotherapy for Melanoma: Clinical Trial Design and Correlates of Response in Tumor Biopsies (Fellow: Max Jameson Lee, MD, PhD | Mentor: Jason Luke, MD)
  • Phase I Study Investigates the Safety and Preliminary Efficacy of Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) with Anti-PD1 and Anti-IL-8 for the Treatment of Multiple Metastases in Advanced Solid Tumors (Fellow: Lilit Karapetyan, MD | Mentor: Jason Luke, MD)
  • Sulforaphane for Therapeutic Prevention of Melanoma (Fellow: Will Maguire, MD, PhD | Mentor: John Kirkwood, MD)
  • Using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research to Identify Barriers and Facilitators of Early Outpatient Specialty Palliative Care in Patients with Advanced Cancer (Fellow: Rachel Rosenblum, MD | Mentor: Bob Arnold, MD)
  • A Phase II Trial of Nivolumbab plus Axitinib in Patients with ant-PD1 Refractory Advanced Melanoma (Fellow: Saba Shaikh, MD | Mentors: John Kirkwood, MD & Yana Najjar, MD)