AACR-Pfizer Fellowships

The AACR-Pfizer Research Fellowships represent a joint effort to encourage and support postdoctoral or clinical research fellows to conduct breast cancer or immuno-oncology research and to establish a successful career path in the field. Funded research can be basic, translational, clinical, or epidemiological in nature.

2020 Grantee

AACR-Pfizer Breast Cancer Research Fellowship
Yudan Chi, PhD

Yudan Chi, PhD

Research Fellow
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
The microenvironmental landscape of breast cancer leptomeningeal metastasis

Research
Through single-cell RNA sequencing of breast cancer specimens, Dr. Chi previously identified a cancer-specific iron transport system LCN2/SLAC22A17 as an essential mediator of leptomeningeal metastasis (LM) growth. In this project, she aims to elucidate the mechanisms that allow cancer cells to overcome the inflammatory and hypoferremic microenvironment of LM. She is set to characterize cancer cell-immune cell interactions using clinical samples. In addition, she plans to determine mechanisms of iron transport in the tumor microenvironment.

Biography
Dr. Chi received her PhD at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. As a research fellow at MSKCC and a scholar of the Alan and Sandra Gerry Metastasis and Tumor Ecosystems Center, she is studying the microenvironmental landscape of breast cancer leptomeningeal metastasis.

Acknowledgment of Support
It is my great honor to receive the 2020 AACR-Pfizer Breast Cancer Research Fellowship, which will facilitate my project in cancer research. This fellowship will also provide very important support for me to further explore leptomeningeal metastasis from mechanism to treatment.

2019 Grantees

AACR-Pfizer Breast Cancer Research Fellowship
Brandon Tan, PhD

Brandon Tan, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow
City of Hope
Duarte, California
Defining FTO as a novel target in breast cancer therapy

Research
FTO is the first identified N6-methyladenosine RNA demethylase and has been shown to play a role in tumorigenesis in leukemia and brain tumors, but its function remains elusive in breast cancer. Dr. Tan’s preliminary data shows that FTO promotes proliferation of breast cancer cells and demonstrates the therapeutic potential of a novel FTO inhibitor in breast cancer. He aims to identify FTO targets using transcriptome-wide sequencing methods and to assess the efficacy of an FTO inhibitor in in vitro and in vivo models of breast cancer.

Biography
Dr. Tan completed his PhD at the University of Southern California, where he elucidated the role of N6-methyladenosine in Kaposi’s Sarcoma-associated herpesvirus replication and tumorigenesis. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the City of Hope Beckman Research Institute, where he focuses on the influence of the N6-methyladenosine epitranscriptome on tumorigenesis and on anti-tumor therapies that modulate the epitranscriptome.

Acknowledgment of Support
The AACR-Pfizer Breast Cancer Research Fellowship will support my research in breast cancer, which focuses on targeting novel oncogenic pathways of cancer. My goal is to quickly translate new therapies to the bedside. This fellowship will also assist in my career development as I strive to be an independent investigator.

AACR-Pfizer Immuno-oncology Research Fellowship
Zhou Jiang, PhD

Zhou Jiang, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas
Overcoming anti-PD-1/PD-L1 resistance in triple-negative breast cancer

Research
Numerous immunotherapy clinical trials for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) are ongoing and have demonstrated tremendous achievements. However, response rates are still far from satisfactory, as only about 10-20 percent of patients are responsive due to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 resistance and inadequate biomarkers for patient selection. Through non-biased methods, receptor tyrosine kinase Tyro3 has been identified as a major contributor to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 resistance. Dr. Jiang aims to elucidate the mechanism of Tyro3-mediated anti-PD-1 resistance in TNBC and to explore the therapeutic potential of combining a Tyro3 inhibitor and PD-1 antibody.

Biography
Dr. Jiang received his PhD from Wuhan University, China. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he focuses on resistance mechanisms of anti-PD1/PD-L1 therapy, and new biomarkers to predict resistance.

Acknowledgement of Support
This fellowship will not only support my ongoing project but also promote my career development as a translational scientist in the cancer immunotherapy field. I sincerely appreciate Pfizer and the AACR for this fellowship opportunity. It is my great honor to receive this funding support.