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:

  • Immunotherapy Combinations for Treatment of Lymphoma (Fellow: Aseel Alsouqi, MD | Mentor: Natasha Galanina, MD)
  • Analyzing Cancer Care Operations across Hospitals and Regions (Fellow: Manisha Bhattacharya, MD | Mentors: Roby Thomas, MD & Lindsay Sabik, PhD)
  • CC92480, Ixazomib and Dexamethasone as an all-oral regimen for relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (Fellow: Joe Franz, MD | Mentor: Kathleen Dorritie, MD)
  • Phase 2 trial of interferon-γ in combination with donor lymphocyte infusions to treat relapsed myeloid malignancies after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (Fellow: Emily Geramita, MD, PhD | Mentors: Sawa Ito, MD, PhD & Warren Shlomchik, MD)
  • Health Disparities in Solid Malignancies (Fellow: Brittaney-Belle Gordon, MD | Mentor: Peg Rosenzweig, PhD, CRNP-C)
  • Phase 1 Kidney and Liver Dysfunction Trial of Veliparib with Carboplatin and Paclitaxel (Fellow: Ronan Hsieh, MD | Mentor: Dan Zandberg)
  • Association of Patient and Tumor Characteristics with Outcomes in Young Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Patients (Fellow: Ronan Hsieh, MD | Mentor: Dan Zandberg)
  • Phase 1 trial of ZEN-3694 in combination with capecitabine in patients with solid tumors (Fellow: Ronan Hsieh, MD | Mentors: Dr. Dennis Hsu, Dr. Jan Beumer)
  • Association of patient and disease characteristics with outcomes of regorafenib in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (Fellow: Ronan Hsieh, MD | Mentor: Dr. Dennis Hsu)
  • Phase 1 organ dysfunction trial of veliparib with carboplatin and paclitaxel (Fellow: Ronan Hsieh, MD | Mentor: Dr. Jan Beumer)
  • Tackling the Knowledge Gap Between Internal Medicine and Oncology: A Curriculum Based Study (Fellow: Lauren Mendelson, DO | Mentor: Annie Im, MD)
  • Malignant hematology medical education (Fellow: Rosie Petroccione, DO | Mentor: Annie Im, MD)
  • Targeting lung cancer with atypical EGFR exon20ins mutations and MET alterations (Fellow: Khako Shaverdashvili, MD, PhD | Mentors: Liza Villaruz, MD & Tim Burns, MD, PhD)
  • SABR as Salvage Treatment for Oligometastatic Disease in Immunotherapy Responders (Fellow: Andrew Swartz, MD | Mentors: Taofeek Owonikoko, MD, PhD & Dan Zandberg, MD)
  • Anti-androgens in advanced EGFR mutant NSCLC (Fellow: Masood Pasha Syed, MD | Mentors: Taofeek Owonikoko, MD, PhD & Tim Burns, MD, PhD)
  • Adherence to extended adjuvant endocrine therapy following Breast Cancer Index testing in women with early-stage hormone receptor positive breast cancers (Fellow: Anastasia Tsagianni, MD | Mentor: Josie van Londen, MD)