UNC fellow wins 2015 Young Investigator Award for lung cancer research

Adam Belanger, MD, a second-year fellow at UNC School of Medicine, has received the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO's Young Investigator Award. The award provides research funding to promising physicians to support the transition from fellowship to faculty appointment, encourage continued interest in clinical cancer research and assist them in their careers as both physicians and researchers. Recipients will each receive a one-year grant of $50,000 to fund their studies as they begin careers in oncology research.

UNC fellow wins 2015 Young Investigator Award for lung cancer research click to enlarge Adam Belanger, MD, is a second-year fellow n pulmonary diseases and critical care medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

Adam Belanger, MD, a second-year pulmonology fellow at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, has won a 2015 Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Conquer Cancer Foundation.

The $50,000, one-year award is given to young physician-researchers to promote clinical oncology research. Belanger’s award will support research into the molecular drivers of lung squamous cell carcinoma metastasis.

“There’s a lot of work to be done to understand lung cancer and to develop new treatments to fight the disease,” Belanger, who is a second-year fellow in pulmonary diseases and critical care medicine at UNC.

Belanger’s work takes place in the lab of Chad Pecot, MD, a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member and an assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine. Pecot’s lab is focused on lung cancer metastasis, the ultimate cause of death for many lung cancer patients. Specifically, they’re studying the role of gene expression regulation molecules called microRNAs in cancerous cells.

“The hope is to build on our findings to develop potential new treatments for lung squamous cell cancer,” Belanger said. “Research is needed into potential treatments for this type of lung cancer in particular, as there haven’t been many druggable targets identified.”

Belanger’s ultimate career goal is to use the training from Pecot’s lab to launch a career with an emphasis on translational research in lung cancer.

“I am very excited for Adam to receive this award. He is a talented, hard-working fellow with a knack for simplifying complicated problems,” Pecot said. I am hopeful this funding will help us uncover important findings in this deadly disease.”

He’s been involved in research since he was a medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, where he was a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinical Research Fellow. The fellowship program funds medical students for an extra year to dive into clinical research. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the Washington University in St. Louis.