Past Stories

Cancer Center Student Symposium (C2S2)

Cancer Center Student Symposium (C2S2)

Dr. Adela Cota-Gomez will kick off the 2nd Annual Cancer Center Student Symposium (C2S2) on October 12th, 2023. This year’s monthly presentations will include presentations from pre- and post-doctoral trainees from the various cancer center research programs. Last year’s C2S2 was a huge success with over X # of high school students attending throughout the year. This year, students who attend 6 of the 7 sessions will earn a certificate of completion. The CRTEC Office created C2S2 to connect the CU - Cancer Center with Colorado high school students and teachers through a monthly virtual symposium on cancer-focused topics.

Pike Prep Scholars

Introducing the 2023-2024 PIKE-PREP Scholars

The 2023-2024 cohort of PIKE-PREP Scholars have arrived on campus!

Preparation in Interdisciplinary Knowledge to Excel - Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PIKE-PREP) is a mentoring and training program directed by Dr. Eduardo Davila and Dr. Carlos Catalano and administered by Dr. Adela Cota-Gomez and Shawndra Fordham, which helps underrepresented post-baccalaureates to gain research experience and other needed training to gain admission into top-tier PhD or MD/PhD programs.

This year's Scholars have started the year off strong with an informative and fun orientation day, during which we got to know this wonderful and talented group of people. The scholars were also introduced to their research lab teams and started to get familiar with their research projects, where an abundance of their time and effort will be focused on.

This year's PIKE-PREP Scholars are Anne Williams mentored by Dr. Gidon Felsen, Brooke Linden mentored by Dr. Eduardo Davila, Daniela Gonzalez-Rivera mentored by Dr. Michael Harris-Love, Jordan Swartz mentored by Dr. Matt Sikora, Kat Arce mentored by Dr. Rachel Friedman, Megan Hupka mentored by Dr. Kelly Doran, Olivia Ovard mentored by Dr. Diego Restrepo, Rebecca Han mentored by Dr. Manisha Patel, and Zoe Drigot mentored by Dr. Sarah Clark.

Alongside their research projects, the Scholars will also participate in career and professional workshops on a variety of topics that will help them advance their career training and will present at either the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) conference or the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Diversity in STEM Conference. We are excited and honored to be able to support them on their professional journeys this year.

Ilango Balakrishnan, PhD

Cancer Innovation Pilot Grant Awardees for 2023

The Cancer Innovation Pilot Grants provide research funding to support the career development of pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees and early-career faculty. These grants are evaluated via a competitive peer-review process in the NIH style.

This year we had a record number of applications and of very high quality. Please join us in congratulating the 2023-2024 Cancer Innovation Pilot Grant Awardees (pictured below).

PIKE-PREP Scholars, Fall 2023

PIKE-PREP Scholars Present at Fall Science Conferences

PIKE-PREP Scholars Kat Arce, Megan Hupka, and Zoe Drigot presented their research at the 22nd Annual Colorado Immunology & Microbiology Conference in Steamboat Springs that was held August 30th – September 1st, 2023. Jordan Swartz headed off to the 2023 International Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer (ILC) Symposium that took place in Pittsburgh, PA from September 28th – 30, 2023. At the conferences the scholars were able to share their science and network with other trainees and scientists with similar research interests. Congratulations on a job well done!

  • Kat Arce (pictured left) presented her research titled, “Ligand accessibility may limit Mertk dependent T cell suppression in the islets during Type 1 Diabetes”
  • Megan Hupka (pictured right) presented her research titled, “Contribution of a DNA Methyltransferase to Enterococcal Vaginal Colonization”
  • Zoe Drigot presented her research titled, “The differential impact of airway Prevotella species on neutrophil activation and Streptococcus pneumoniae infection”
  • Jordan Swartz presented her research titled, “Efficacy of PARP inhibitor Talazoparib on ER+ ILC breast cancer models”


Learn more about the PIKE-PREP Scholars

OSI Welcomes 2023 Interns

The CU Oncology Summer Internship (OSI) program was happy to welcome Ferdos Abdulkader and Mustafa Saeed into the 2023 program. Mentored by Dr John Tentler and Dr. Tejas Patil, the Interns worked hard and persevered; at the end of the internship, they were able to present their research projects:

Ferdos Abdulkader
Project: Immunotherapy outcomes in KRAS NSCLC who are never smokers

Mustafa Saeed
Project: Incidence and outcomes of patients with large-cell neuroendocrine or sarcomatoid lung carcinoma with driver oncogenes

Richard Schulick, MD, MBA

Cancer Center Student Symposium (C2S2) 2022

The kick off of the Cancer Center Student Symposium (C2S2) was a huge success as Cancer Center Director, Dr. Richard Schulick, presented on cancer, cancer careers, his path and commitment to fighting cancer, and the importance of finding a mentor to nearly 50 Colorado  high school students.  C2S2 was created by the CRTEC office to connect the CU - Cancer Center with Colorado high school students and teachers through a monthly virtual symposium on cancer-focused topics.

Mariana Olano and Shrostina Magar

CC2STEM Students Conducting Research on Campus

CC2STEM’s pilot cohort of students are finishing up a successful summer of research! Community College to STEM (CC2STEM) is a program that gives Community College of Aurora students the opportunity to have a high caliber mentored biomedical research experience. This program was founded by the CU-AMC Chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native American Scientists (SACNAS), led by Katia Nino, PhD Candidate in the Molecular Biology Program and HHMI Gilliam Fellow, and is collaboratively funded by a CU-President’s DEI Award and the CRTEC office.

This year’s CC2STEM students are Shrostina Magar mentored by Dr. James DeGregory and Mariana Olono mentored by Dr. Eric Pietras. They are working with their mentors and lab teams to gain valuable experience in the biomedical sciences. CRTEC will continue to work with the SACNAS student chapter to secure external funding to expand this already amazing program.

LaCOTA Travel Award Recipients

LaCOTA Travel Award Recipients Present at Oncology National Conferences

This spring, five 2nd-year CU-SOM medical students received an amazing opportunity to present their cancer research nationally via the LaCamera Oncology Travel Awards (LaCOTA), thanks to funds generously donated by the LaCamera family specifically to support oncology training of CU-SOM medical students.

LaCOTA awards provided funding support for these medical scientists in training to present their research and participate in professional development activities at oncology-focused national conferences.

The five students who received the award in Spring 2023 were, Luis Barrientos, Jamie Burke, Bridget Foy, Sarah Shortall, and Caroline Walsh.

  • Luis Barrientos, mentored by Dr. Jessica L. Jack, presented his project titled “Receptiveness to Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Counseling and Administration During Dental Visits” at the Pediatric Academic Societies Conference.
  • Jamie Burke, mentored by Dr. Sarah Tevis, presented her research titled, “Safety net hospital patients face unique barriers to accessing care in addition to health and literacy challenges” at the American Society of Breast Surgeons Conference.
  • Bridget Foy, mentored by Dr. Sarah Tevis, presented her work on “The Usability of MedED: A Novel Patient Engagement Technology” at the American Society for Breast Surgeons Conference.
  • Sarah Shortall, mentored by Dr. Jessica L. Jack, presented her project on “Dental Professionals Perspective on Participating in a Medical Dental Integration Program to Promote and Administer HPV Vaccines” at the National Oral Health Conference.
  • Caroline Walsh, mentored by Drs. Julie Friedman and Christene Conageski, gave an oral presentation of her work on “Complementary and Alternative Medications for HPV Infections” at the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology Conference.

Through the LaCOTA program, these medical students had the opportunity to present at prestigious national conferences and gain valuable oncology training experience. Please join us in congratulating these future oncology medical scientists.

Cancer Center Research Rangers

Cancer Center Research Rangers (C2R2)

On Friday June 23rd, 2023, CRTEC hosted an amazing group of students from the Challenge Foundation to educate them about cancer research at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus through the Cancer Center Research Rangers (C2R2) program. The C2R2 program provides middle school students the opportunity to learn about cancer and cancer research through hands-on experiences.

C2R2 students got the opportunity to participate in interactive sessions, from seeing their own cells under a microscope to being able to see and touch lungs (simulated) that were affected by smoking. Through this program, C2R2 students learned about cancer basics, prevention, control and careers from highly experienced educators and researchers, Dr. Adela Cota Gomez, Dr. Kristin Schaller, Shawndra Fordham, Alexa Bauer, and Ben Kooiman.

Throughout the day, these amazing Rangers were very engaged and excited to learn from these experts, as well as participate in the hands-on activities. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for these Rangers, and they gained valuable knowledge that we hope will carry with them throughout their lives.

February 2023 Learn About Cancer Day

In February, we hosted around 100 local high school students to help them learn more about cancer research and cancer-related careers. Following an introduction to cancer presentation by John Tentler, PhD, students identified cancer-relevant genes during a DNA microarray lab hosted by the CRTEC office, participated in a simulated cancer-focused clinical trial designed and facilitated by Meredith Tennis, PhD, toured multiple cancer-research laboratories as well as shared resources facilities, and learned about cancer-related careers during a lunchtime career panel visit. It was a day filled with educational opportunities for students to connect their science understanding to relevant, cutting-edge science occurring right here at the CU Cancer Center.

New CC2STEM Program Awarded the CU-President’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Award

In collaboration with the CU-AMC student chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native American Scientists (SACNAS), CRTEC was awarded a CU-President’s DEI award to fund a pilot of the CC2STEM program which will offer a summer mentoring and research training experience to local community college students interested in investigating a future career in the biomedical sciences. The program is led-by Katia Nino, a graduate student Dr. Eric Pietras’ Lab, with administrative support and mentorship from CRTEC leaders and will begin in the summer of 2023. After the pilot year, CRTEC will seek external funding to continue and expand the program.

CU Science Discovery

CU Science Discovery Summer Research and Summer Camps Come to Anschutz Medical Campus

This summer, high school students in grades 10-12 can partner with CU Anschutz faculty and graduate students to gain real-world laboratory experience through the CU Science Discovery Research Program while students in grades 7-9 can spend two weeks participating in a variety of hand-on STEM experiences as part of the CU Science Discovery Summer Camp.  Registration is limited, sign up soon.

Eman Elsabbagh

Competitive Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research Grant Awarded to Eman Elsabbagh

Eman Elsabbagh, MD, MSc, is a Pediatric Hem/Onc Fellow, Center of Cancer and Blood Disorders, Children’s Hospital Colorado, on the AMC. She was recently awarded a highly competitive grant from the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research to develop a “Universal T-Cell Receptor (TCR) Targeting Pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia”.  She will be working in the lab of Eduardo Davila.

Oncology Summer Internship

Oncology Summer Internship

Recently, three second year University of Colorado School of Medicine students, Chiagoziem (Chi) Anigbogu, Luis Barrientos and Theresa Tafoya, presented their CU Oncology Summer Internship (OSI) research projects to a panel at the CU Cancer Center. The 6-week CU Oncology Summer Internship (OSI) at the CU Cancer Center, is an immersive, paid summer internship for rising second year medical students from populations underrepresented in medicine (UIM). The internship features shadowing, education, networking and mentoring experiences designed to help students explore their interests in oncology, patient care and careers as an oncologist. Based on the success of this internship we plan to expand the program to include more students next year and going forward.

Diversity in Cancer Research Program

Diversity in Cancer Research Program Hosts Undergraduate Students for Hands-On Experience at CU Cancer Center

The 10-week American Cancer Society (ACS) Diversity in Cancer Research (DICR) internship program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center wrapped up in July. DICR is an ACS program that aims to support students from traditionally underrepresented minorities in cancer research and mentorship. CU Cancer Center members Jennifer Richer, PhD, professor of pathology in the CU School of Medicine, and John Tentler, PhD, associate professor of medical oncology, are co-leaders on the grant.

Eman Elsabbagh

St. Baldrick’s Foundation Grant Recipient

Congratulations to Dr. Eman Elsabbagh, MD, MSc. Dr. Elsabbagh is a Pediatric Hem/Onc Fellow in the Center of Cancer and Blood Disorders, Children’s Hospital Colorado, on the AMC. She is the recipient of the highly competitive St. Baldrick's Foundation Grant to develop a “Universal T-Cell Receptor (TCR) Targeting Pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia”. St. Baldrick’s Foundation funds promising research aimed at treating childhood cancers globally. She is mentored by Dr. Eduardo Davila in Med-Onc.


Cancer Center Research Rangers

The C2R2 Cancer Center Research Rangers program is an exploratory program for local middle school students to come to the CU Anschutz Campus to learn more about cancer research and the biomedical sciences through interactive programming and laboratory investigations. In addition, our programming includes important education related to cancer prevention and screening and the harmful effects of tobacco use.


PIKE-PREP Supports Scholars

The newly established PREP program aims to help prepare participants for admission to MD/PhD or PhD programs. Xander Bradeen, pictured along with his research mentor Dr. Eduardo Davila, is a member of the first cohort in the Preparation in Interdisciplinary Knowledge to Excel - Post Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PIKE-PREP) which offers a multi-dimensional mentoring and research training experience for post-baccalaureate students from underrepresented communities.

Applications for the 2023-2024 cohort are open until March 30th, 2023.

Amanda Winters, MD, PhD

American Cancer Society Clinician Scientist Development Grant Awarded to Amanda Winters, MD, PhD

Dr. Amanda Winters, Assistant Professor for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/BMT with the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital Colorado, was awarded the ACS Clinician Scientist Development Grant, a 3-year career development award, for her project titled: "Preclinical Validation of Personalized Molecular Assays for Measurable Residual Disease Monitoring in Pediatric AML."

Learn About Cancer Day

Learn About Cancer Day Returns to CU Cancer Center

On April 22, more than 50 biomedical science students from Denver-area high schools came to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus to tour the cancer research laboratories, learn about cancer from our world renowned cancer scientists, and explore the paths they can take towards a career in the biomedical sciences.

CMS Login