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Scholar-in-Training Awards: Annual Meeting

Since its inception in 1986, the AACR Annual Meeting Scholar-in-Training Award program has provided almost 4,900 grants to young investigators and has received support from 64 cancer research foundations, corporations, individuals, and other organizations dedicated to the fight against cancer.

Scholar-in-Training Awards are highly competitive and recognize outstanding young investigators presenting meritorious proffered papers at the AACR Annual Meeting. Scholar-in-Training Award funds are to support attendance at the Annual Meeting.


The deadline to submit all applications for Scholar-in-Training Awards for the AACR Annual Meeting 2022 is November 18, 2021.

To apply for a Scholar-in-Training Award, applicants must first submit their abstract and then complete a Scholar-in-Training Award Application. Please note that Scholar-in-Training Awards are not available for late-breaking abstracts. 

Submit Application

Complete your abstract submission and make note of your abstract control number. You will need your abstract control number to complete the Scholar-in-Training Award application. Applicants will be asked to submit their abstract control number, mentor, CV (including a list of publications), and a short personal statement describing their research area and interests, current work setting, reasons for attending the Annual Meeting, and career aspirations. 


  • Applicants must be the first author and presenter of an abstract submitted for presentation at the Annual Meeting.
  • Applicants must be an Associate Member of the AACR in good standing (membership current through 2021). Nonmember graduate students, medical students and residents, clinical fellows or equivalent, and postdoctoral fellows who wish to apply for a Scholar-in-Training Award should submit a Membership Application Form by November 12, 2021 in order to obtain membership in time to then submit an application for a Scholar-in-Training Award.
  • Applicants cannot be employees or subcontractors of for-profit private industry.
  • Applicants may apply for other travel awards, but may only receive one award from the AACR to attend the Annual Meeting.
  • We encourage applications from all areas of cancer research. Scholar-in-Training Awards funded by certain supporters are restricted to certain types of cancer research. Currently, in addition to general funding, the AACR has received funding for extra 2022 Annual Meeting Scholar-in-Training Awards in cancer chemistry, cholangiocarcinoma, and pediatric brain cancer. This list will be updated with any areas of cancer research for which the AACR has received additional funds. 

Selection of Award Recipients 

Successful applicants will be selected based on the merit of their abstract, CV, and personal statement; every effort will be made to notify awardees by early February 2022. 


If you have any questions related to Scholar-in-Training Awards for the Annual Meeting, please email us at [email protected].


The AACR gratefully acknowledges the supporters who enabled us to provide 90 Scholar-in-Training Awards for the Virtual 2021 Annual Meeting. 

  • AbbVie 
  • The Estate of Dr. June L. Biedler 
  • Breast Cancer Research Foundation 
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Oncology 
  • James V. Buzzitta, MD Family Fund 
  • Lanny Ian Hecker, MD, PhD Research Fund 
  • Molecular Epidemiology Working Group of the AACR 
  • Prostate Cancer Foundation 
  • Doreen J. Putrah Cancer Research Foundation 
  • Sygnature Discovery 
  • WuXi AppTec 

The names and affiliations of the 2021 Scholar-in-Training Award recipients, along with the abstract numbers and titles of their abstracts, are listed below.


Jenna V. Canzoniero, MD, MS, Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, Maryland. Abstract 538. Liquid biopsy approaches for determining pathologic response to neoadjuvant immunotherapy in esophageal cancer.

Brandon Chen, BS, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Abstract 2400. PINK1 is a novel regulator of mitochondria and iron metabolism in colon cancer.

En Cheng, MD, PhD, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Abstract 898. Survival for patients with early-onset colorectal cancer – An overall survival analysis from the National Cancer Database, 2004-2015.

Victoria Louise Dunne, PhD, Queen’s University, Belfast, United Kingdom. Abstract 3054. Synergistic activity of DNA damage response kinase inhibitors in combination with the targeted alpha therapy radium-223 dichloride for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

Rashida Ginwala, PhD, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Abstract 2912. Changes in mouse bladder cancer microbiome associated with exposure to bladder carcinogen N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl) nitrosamine.

Charles P. Hinzman, MS, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. Abstract 2668. Pancreatic cancer cell extracellular vesicles drive the unfolded protein response in recipient normal pancreas cells.

Jiakai Hou, PhD, University of Houston, Houston, Texas. Abstract 1575. The landscape of tumor intrinsic immune regulators revealed by genome-wide CRISPR immune screen integrated with comprehensive clinical data analysis.

Justin C. Jagodinsky, BA, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin. Abstract 3060. Temporal analysis of type 1 interferon activation in tumor cells following external beam radiotherapy or targeted radionuclide therapy.

Kevin C. Johnson, PhD, The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut. Abstract 2084. Single-cell multimodal glioma analyses reveal epigenetic regulators of cellular plasticity and environmental stress response.

Yuan-Hung Lo, PhD, Stanford University, Stanford, California. Abstract 123. A CRISPR/Cas9-engineered ARID1A-deficient human gastric cancer organoid model reveals essential and non-essential modes of oncogenic transformation.

Matthew A. Loberg, BA, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. Abstract 2708. Dedifferentiated thyroid cancers have unique expression profiles of stromal cell markers and TIMER predicted immune cell infiltrate.

Aram Lyu, PhD, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas. Abstract 3185. Integrin signaling is critical for myeloid-mediated support of T-ALL.

Apexa Modi, BA, PhD candidate, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Abstract 3028. Integrative genomics reveals lncRNAs associated with pediatric cancer.

Nethaji Muniraj, PhD, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. Abstract 2690. Therapeutic browning of white adipose tissue in the tumor microenvironment to inhibit breast cancer progression.

Adam Officer, BS, University of California San Diego, California. Abstract 131. Remodeling of stromal-epithelial interactions in breast cancer progression as inferred from regional and single-cell gene expression analysis.

Yuji Otsuki, MD, PhD, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan. Abstract 2019. Drug repositioning to induce the synthetic lethality in cancer cells with GSH-depleting therapy.

Anuja Sathe, MBBS, PhD, Stanford University, Stanford, California. Abstract 1680. Patient-derived ex vivo TME-models and single-cell sequencing reveal transcriptional responses to immunotherapy.

Ethan N. Shelkey, BS, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Abstract 2964. Immuno-reactive cancer organoid models to examine microbiome metabolite effects on immune checkpoint blockade efficacy.

Nitisha Shrivastava, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York. Abstract 1958. Inhibition of CDK4/6 in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma dismantles key DNA repair pathways in response to radiation treatment.

Yilun Sun, PhD, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. Abstract 1182. The NEDD8 inhibitor pevonedistat blocks the repair of topoisomerase I (TOP1)-induced replication damage and synergizes with TOP1 inhibitors.

Qian Wang, MD, MPH, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York. Abstract 2585. Dietary isoflavone intake and lung cancer risk: An analysis using data from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovary (PLCO) trial.

Hila Winer, PhD, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Maryland. Abstract 2462. A combination of IL7Rα and NRAS mutations up-regulates Bcl-2 and cMyc levels leading to formation of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Lu Yang, PhD, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, New York. Abstract 2487. Disrupting binding of p53 mutants to PEPD unleashes their tumor suppressor activities.

Yin Zhang, MD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts. Abstract LB091. Long-term statin use and risk of colorectal cancer: A prospective cohort study.

Jingjing Zhu, PhD, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii. Abstract 827. Transcriptome-wide association study of endometrial cancer risk.

AACR-Breast Cancer Research Foundation Scholar-in-Training Awards

Claire L. Ihle, BA, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado. Abstract 114. Loss of BMPR1a in fibroblasts restricts breast cancer progression and alters the immune tumor microenvironment.

Pooja Khanna, PhD candidate, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Abstract 2456. SOX4 and SMARCA4 upregulate glycolysis-driven tumor proliferation through hexokinase 2 in triple-negative breast cancer.

AACR-June L. Biedler Scholar-in-Training Award

This award is made possible through the Estate of Dr. June L. Biedler. The late Dr. Biedler was a dedicated member of AACR and a distinguished scientist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  Dr. Biedler believed that science communication is a cornerstone to the acceleration of progress. This award is presented to an individual presenting a meritorious abstract in the field of drug resistance.

Yihao Li, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts. Abstract 1400. SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex regulation of YAP-dependent enhancers drives therapeutic resistance in triple-negative breast cancer.

AACR-Bristol Myers Squibb Oncology Scholar-in-Training Awards

Zineb Belcaid, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Abstract 1662. Immunogenomic mechanisms of response and resistance to combined radiation and immunotherapy in lung cancer.

Vrushank Dharmesh Bhatt, MS, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Abstract 88. Autophagy inhibition sensitizes Liver Kinase B1 (LKB1)-deficient Kras-driven lung tumors to MEK inhibitor Trametinib.

Jiayu Chen, BA, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Abstract 2404. Increased mitochondrial DNA copy number occurs during prostate cancer progression and in cancer precursor lesions across multiple organs.

Lionel Chia, MSc, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. Abstract 2414. HMGA1 induces FGF19 to drive tumor progression and recruit cancer associated fibroblasts in pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Grace Egan, MD, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Abstract 3098. Leukemia stem cells demonstrate enhanced DNA damage repair and chemoresistance in AML.

Lara C. Franceschinis Tshering, MSc, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York. Abstract 3126. Intratumor heterogeneity and clonal dynamics underlying treatment resistance in prostate cancer.

Dalia H. Ghoneim, PhD, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. Abstract 882. Associations of genetically predicted blood protein biomarkers with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma risk: A study using comprehensive protein genetic prediction models.

Xuxu Gou, MS, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas. Abstract 742. The integration of a structure-function rule and a transcriptional signature to assign ESR1 fusion activity in metastatic breast cancer.

Inbal Greenberg, MSc, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel. Abstract 2854. Adaptation of colorectal cancer cells to the brain microenvironment: The role of IRS2.

Michael Y. Hwang, MD, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. Abstract 27. Early dynamics in peripheral blood immune cell subsets and ctDNA are predictive of outcome to immunotherapy.

Hong Jiang, PhD, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. Abstract 2018. Understanding the functional significance of Sulfiredoxin in cancer cell metabolism.

Alex Martínez-Sabadell, PhD candidate, Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), Barcelona, Spain. Abstract 1859. The antigen target is critical in the mechanism of resistance to T-cell based therapies.

Anna R. Michmerhuizen, BS, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Abstract 737. Estrogen receptor inhibition with tamoxifen mediates radiosensitization of ER+ breast cancer models.

Akash Mitra, BS, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. Abstract 518. Immunogenomic correlates of response to combination immune checkpoint blockade in advanced sarcoma.

Adam Pietrobon, BSc, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Abstract 2974. Loss of TSC1 or TSC2 drives lineage infidelity and hamartoma formation in a renal organoid model of angiomyolipoma.

Anna Plym, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. Abstract 822. Can the genetic risk of prostate cancer be attenuated by a healthy lifestyle?.

Minkyo Song, MD, PhD, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. Abstract 752. Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio and subsequent cancer risk in the UK Biobank.

Mai Tanaka, MPH, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. Abstract 3154. Host and neoplastic cell Axl inhibition impair prostate and breast cancer bone metastasis.

Takahiro Tsuji, MD, PhD, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan. Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. Abstract 1768. Real-time in vivo imaging of brain metastasis visualized dynamic reaction of microglia against cancer cells.

Frederick S. Varn, PhD, The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut. Abstract 2169. Tumor-myeloid cell interactions are dynamic and influence the evolutionary trajectory of adult diffuse glioma.

Fangyang Wang, PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Abstract 1939. Follicular lymphoma-associated mutations in the V-ATPase assembly factor VMA21 activate autophagic flux.

Shih-Ying Wu, PhD, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Abstract 2715. Tamoxifen suppresses brain metastasis of estrogen receptor deficient breast cancer by skewing microglia polarization and enhancing their immune functions.

Yu Zhu, PhD, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. Abstract 1804. Modulation of Nr2f2 reprograms tumor blood vessels to enhance anti-tumor immunity and immunotherapy.

AACR-James V. Buzzitta, MD Family Fund Scholar-in-Training Award

Jeffrey Patterson-Fortin, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts. Abstract 2052. TRIP13 amplification confers PARP inhibitor resistance and polymerase theta inhibitor sensitivity.

AACR-Lanny Ian Hecker, MD, PhD, Research Fund Scholar-in-Training Award

Shankar Suman, PhD, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. Abstract 1110. Targeting β-catenin enhances the therapeutic efficacy of osimertinib in EGFR- mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

AACR-Molecular Epidemiology Working Group Scholar-in-Training Award

Mollie E. Barnard, ScD, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, Utah. Abstract 32. Body mass index and mammographic density by race and ethnicity.

AACR-Prostate Cancer Foundation Scholar-in-Training Awards

Isra A. Elhussin, MBBS, MSc, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama. Abstract 2196. Prostate cancer: Immune-inflammation signature in men of African ancestry.

Shuai Gao, PhD, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts. Abstract 2317. Targeting prostate cancer super enhancers by co-inhibiting LSD1 and BRD4.

Alessandro Vasciaveo, PhD, Columbia University, New York, New York. Abstract 2. Addressing treatment resistance in models of lethal prostate cancer.

AACR-Doreen J. Putrah Cancer Research Foundation Scholar-in-Training Awards

Rebecca M. Barber, BS, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama. Abstract 1213. PDE10A as a novel target to suppress Wnt/β-catenin signaling and other oncogenic pathways in ovarian cancer.

Ye Chen, PhD, National University of Singapore, Singapore. Abstract 2438. Genetic activation of JUN fuels the core regulatory circuitry of de-differentiated liposarcoma.

Han T. Cun, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. Abstract 2744. The immune landscape of recurrent ovarian carcinoma.

Kavya Ganapathy, MS, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida. Abstract 2390. LncRNA PAINT promotes prostate cancer progression through modulation of genes involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition and apoptosis.

Charly Ryan Good, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Abstract 60. Induction of T cell dysfunction and NK-like T cell differentiation in vitro and in patients after CAR T cell treatment.

Mohamed A. Gouda, MD, MSc, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. Abstract 564. BRAFV600 mutation in circulating tumor DNA can predict outcomes in early-stage melanoma.

Shengqing Gu, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts. Abstract 65. Therapeutically increasing MHC-I expression potentiates immune checkpoint blockade.

Wanting Han, MS, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts. Abstract 2509. RB1-loss in castration-resistant prostate cancer reprograms androgen receptor signaling and confers vulnerability to LSD1 inhibition.

Camille Jacqueline, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Abstract 1763. Acute but not chronic LCMV infection generates immunity against abnormally expressed self-antigens on infected and tumor cells and protects against lung and lymphoid cancers in mice.

Jonathan T. Lei, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas. Abstract 2992. Proteogenomic characterization of triple-negative breast cancer patient-derived xenografts reveals molecular correlates of differential chemotherapy response and potential therapeutic targets to overcome resistance.

Hsin-Yun Lin, MS, Oregon Health and Science Universitiy, Portland, Oregon. Abstract 531. Disruption of a histone chaperone pathway delays inflammation-driven AML progression.

Melissa A. Lumish, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York. Abstract 611. Colibactin mutation signatures are associated with a distinct colorectal cancer clinicopathologic phenotype.

Jamie A. Moore, MSc, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom. Abstract 2752. LC3-associated phagocytosis in bone marrow macrophages suppresses AML progression through TIM-4 mediated STING activation.

Nam K. Nguyen, PharmD, University of Florida College of Pharmacy, Gainesville, Florida. Abstract 2535. Leukemic cell proteomic profiling in pediatric AML.

Dana Pueschl, PhD, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Abstract 2723. How BRCA1/2 mutations in TNBC affect TME and subsequently immune cell functions.

Susan C. Scott, MD, MA, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Abstract 1617. Sex-specific genomic determinants of response to immunotherapy.

Rupesh Shrestha, PhD candidate, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. Abstract 629. Flavonoids are NR4A1 antagonists and target PAX3-FOXO1 and G9a in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma cells.

Konrad H. Stopsack, MD, MPH, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York. Abstract 893. Batch effects in tumor biomarker studies using tissue microarrays: Extent, impact, and remediation.

Sally Kit Yan To, PhD, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Abstract 3188. β-catenin in metastatic ovarian cancer cells mediates polyploidy induced by tumor-associated macrophages.

Yufei Wang, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts. Abstract 62. Development of dual-targeted fine-tuned immune restoring (DFIR) CAR T cell therapy for clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC).

Jeanny H. Wang, MPH, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. Abstract 753. Associations of inflammatory bowel disease and subsequent cancers in the United States elderly population.

Liang Xu, PhD, National University of Singapore, Singapore. Abstract 2123. Chromatin profiling of glioblastoma tissues identifies core oncogenic dependency and therapeutic opportunities.

Chun Yeung, MSc, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Yuen Long, Hong Kong. Abstract 807. Asian prevalent ABCB5 genetic variants rs2074000 and rs17143187 predicts overall survival and clinical outcomes in hepatocellular carcinoma patients.

Lyndsay E.A. Young, BS, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. Abstract 3046. In situ analysis of microenvironmental glycogen in Ewing’s sarcoma patient samples by mass spectrometry imaging.

Shuai Zhao, MS, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. Abstract 2014. Identification of Smurf2 as a HIF-1α degrading E3 ubiquitin ligase.

AACR-Sygnature Discovery Scholar-in-Training Award
in association with the CICR Working Group of the AACR

Petra Paizs, BSc, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom. Abstract 271. High-throughput fecal metabolic profiling for the early detection of colorectal cancer using a direct mass spectrometry assay.

AACR-WuXi AppTec Scholar-in-Training Awards
in association with the CICR Working Group of the AACR

Kenry, PhD, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Abstract 266. Differential collective cell migratory behaviors modulated by phospholipid nanoparticles.

Akshaya Chandrasekaran, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. Abstract 1316. PAX8-directed nanotherapeutics for high-grade serous ovarian cancer.

Lindsey R. Conroy, PhD, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. Abstract 2819. Mass spectrometry imaging reveals heterogeneous glycogen metabolism in non small cell lung cancer.

Tara E. Jarboe, MS, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York. Abstract 317. Berberine-mediated reprogramming of the inflammatory environment in anaplastic thyroid cancer.

Duaa Kanan, BSc, Bahçeşehir University School of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey. Abstract 277. Discovery of promising antineoplastic drugs against the USP7 deubiquitinating enzyme: A pharmacophore-based FDA-approved and investigational drugs repurposing study.

Tingting Liu, PhD, City of Hope, Duarte, California. Abstract 938. Pharmacologic targeting Mcl-1 with AZD5991 induces apoptosis, suppresses mitochondrial respiration and overcomes ibrutinib resistance in non-Hodgkin lymphoma cells.

Daniel D. Shapiro, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. Abstract 1247. Targeting neddylation in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy for the treatment of renal medullary carcinoma.


If you have any questions related to Scholar-in-Training Awards for the Annual Meeting, please email us at [email protected].