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Six researchers have been awarded 2014 University Cancer Research Fund (UCRF) Innovation Awards for promoting innovative and new ideas in cancer research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The 2014 Innovation Award winners are:

  • Paul Armistead, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine – “Microwell based Selection and Expansion of Leukemia-Specific, Cytotoxic, T-cells for Adoptive Cellular Therapy”
  • Christine Kistler, MD, MASc, assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine – “Important Characteristics of Electronic Cigarette Use among a Nationally Representative Sample of Adult Smokers in the United States”
  • Zhi Liu, PhD, professor of Dermatology, Microbiology and Immunology – “Novel role of BP180/type XVII collagen, a critical cell-cell matrix adhesion molecule in melanoma”
  • C. Ryan Miller, MD, PhD, associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine – “Primum non nocere: Questioning the role of temozolomide in adjuvant therapy of low grade astrocytomas”
  • Xin Ming, PhD, assistant professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy – “Nanoparticle-based Combination Therapy of Melanoma with Oligonucleotides and Photodynamic Therapy”
  • Kent Rossman, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology – ” Direct therapeutic targeting of oncogenic KRAS”


The Innovation Award emphasizes top-notch, new science, as well as significant breakthroughs in concepts, methods and collaborations. Awards for individuals can range up to $100,000 a year for two years of funding; multidisciplinary teams can receive up to $200,000 per year.

Established in 2007 and funded by the N.C. General Assembly, the UCRF invests in cutting edge research to advance the fight against cancer, North Carolina’s leading cause of death. The Innovation Awards are chosen from projects that advance the fund’s three goals – discovery to better understand the cause of cancer; innovation to create new and better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer; and delivery of improved cancer care, screening and prevention.

All UNC faculty and UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center members are eligible to apply for Innovation Awards. The next round of awards is due October 15, 2014. For more information, please visit