The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center has launched a new program called O’Neal Invests that will fund UAB investigators’ preliminary cancer-related work and ultimately enable competitive R01 applications.

O’Neal Invests grants are for $160,000 over two years and can have one or more principal investigators. There will be two requests for applications per year, one in the spring and one in the fall, and the grants will be peer-reviewed by a panel of UAB faculty. While O’Neal Cancer Center membership is not a requirement to apply, awardees must become members once they are selected, if they are not members already.

The first grant cycle took place in Spring 2020, and the review panel met on July 23. There were 57 grant applications, which were each reviewed by three panel members who scored the applications and provided written comments. Seventeen applications were then discussed during the meeting, and seven achieved a fundable score.

The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center would like to congratulate the first group of O’Neal Invests grant recipients, who are listed below. The next RFA is scheduled for Fall 2020, and applicants who were not selected this time are strongly encouraged to make revisions based on the critiques and reapply.

Spring 2020 O'Neal Invests Awardees

Xu Feng, Ph.D.

Department
Pathology

Grant
Pre-R01

Project Title
"RANK Signaling Pathways in Breast Cancer Development"

Renata Jaskula-Sztul, Ph.D.

Department
Surgery

Grant
Pre-R01

Project Title
"Inhibition of Medullary Thyroid Cancer Invasiveness by Targeting Voltage-gated Sodium Channels"

Runhua Liu, Ph.D.

Department
Genetics

Grant
Pre-R01

Project Title
"CD24-mediated Tumor Metastasis and Targeted Therapy in Prostate Cancer"

Michael Marciel, Ph.D.

Department
Cell, Developmental & Integrative Biology

Grant
Post-doctoral
Mentor: Susan Bellis, Ph.D.

Project Title
"Novel Mechanisms that Contribute to Early Stages in the Development of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC)"

Selvarangan Ponnazhagan, Ph.D.

Department
Pathology

Grant
Pre-R01

Project Title
"Combinatorial Genetic Immunotherapy and RANKL Antagonism for Breast Cancer"

Isabel Scarinci, Ph.D., MPH, and Amit Gaggar, Ph.D.

Department
Medicine

Grant
Pre-R01

Project Title
"Comprehensive Assessment of Population Harm Associated with Tobacco Products: How Can We Adapt Evidence-based Assessments to Underserved Populations?"

Allan Zajac, Ph.D.

Department
Microbiology

Grant
Pre-R01

Project Title
"Functional Cross-talk of Effective Anti-tumor T cells"