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Exteriors of the UNC Lineberger and Marsico Hall buildingsUNC Lineberger awarded 17 developmental research grants totaling nearly $1.1 million to faculty during the spring 2022 award cycle.

A committee of 36 UNC Lineberger faculty peer reviewers, including UNC Lineberger leadership, selected the recipients from a pool of 37 applications. Funding is made possible by the University Cancer Research Fund and other sources.

“The developmental fund awards are important because they encourage high-risk, high-reward, innovative and collaborative ideas that will positively impact cancer patients in North Carolina and beyond,” said Andrea Walens, PhD, UNC Lineberger’s assistant director for collaborative research. “The spring 2022 award cycle included many innovative ideas, the use of novel technologies and submissions from first-time applicants. This demonstrates the collaborative nature of UNC Lineberger, its strong training environment, and its commitment to advance cancer research through investments in the latest technologies.”

UNC Lineberger awards developmental research grants each spring and fall. The program has two funding levels: Tier 1 provides up to $50,000 in pilot funding, and Tier 2 provides up to $100,000 per year, for one or two years. Research that is innovative and has potential to advance the scientific understanding of cancer and/or clinical and public health practice is more likely to receive funding. Within each tier, proposals are accepted in basic, clinical/translational, and population science. Additionally, targeted requests for applications (RFAs) may be added to each award cycle.

The spring 2022 award cycle included an RFA for single cell and geospatial technologies, which generated several applications in the basic and clinical/translational categories. Also, postdoctoral fellows were invited to apply for Tier 1 awards. Eight applied, and four received funding.

The upcoming fall 2022 award cycle will have five targeted RFAs:

  • Matching funds for single cell nucleic acid sequencing and geospatial analysis
  • Virology associated collaborations and projects
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Population science approaches to address cancer disparities in North Carolina
  • Protein binding therapeutic/diagnostic shared resource

The applications for the fall award cycle are due Oct. 3 at 5 p.m. and can be submitted online later in September. To expedite the review process, principal investigators are encouraged to email ( a non-binding letter of intent (LOI) listing investigators’ name and project title by Sept. 12. Proposals will be accepted without a LOI.

The spring 2022 award recipients

Tier 1 – Basic Science


Russell Broaddus, MD, PhD, Chair, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Project Title: Identifying intra-tumoral spatial transcriptional changes in CTNNB1-mutant endometrial cancers: impact of nuclear localization of mutant b-catenin


Michael East, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pharmacology

Project Title: Defining heterogeneity in kinase expression and dynamics in TNBC patient derived organoids using kinome targeted single cell RNAseq and ATACseq


Zibo Li, PhD, Professor of Radiology

Project Title: A Light Shield for Protecting Sensitive Organs Against Cytotoxic Therapeutics


Cary Moody, PhD, Associated Professor, Microbiology & Immunology

Project Title: Virus: Host Interactions that Regulate HPV Replication


Samantha Pattenden, PhD, Associate Professor, Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery

Project Title: Development of a platform for therapeutic target discovery and diagnosis of alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) cancers


Philip Spanheimer, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery

Project Title: Targeting the RET Receptor Tyrosine Kinase in Tamoxifen Resistant Breast Cancer


Tier 1 – Clinical/Translational


Kathryn Gessner, MD, PhD, Fellow, Urologic Oncology

Project Title: Geospatial transcriptomic characterization of urothelial carcinoma in situ (CIS) to decipher cancer biology and enhance therapy


Joannie Ivory, MD, MSPH, Chief Fellow, Hematology/Medical Oncology

Project Title: Impact of race and age on intrinsic subtype distribution and treatment decisions in hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer


Kelly Tan, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Nursing

Project Title: Development of a person reported outcomes monitoring and resource bridging intervention for caregivers of bone marrow transplant recipients.


Tier 1 – Population Science


Alice Ammerman, DrPH, RD, Professor, Nutrition

Project Title: Formative study to inform cancer prevention (tobacco and diet) through an interactive digital intervention at Fort Bragg


Chelsea Anderson, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Epidemiology

Project Title: Care coordination and health after endometrial cancer


Matthew LeBlanc, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Cancer Outcomes Research Program

Project Title: Patterns of multiple myeloma care and survival in North Carolina: An exploration of the influence of race, place, and time


Tier 2 – Basic Science


Shobhan Gaddameedhi, PhD, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, NC State

Project Title: The Role of Circadian Clock in Protection Against Radiation- and Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity.


Jesse Raab, PhD, Assistant Professor of Genetics

Project Title: Defining the role of the BAF complex in primary liver cancers


Tier 2 – Population Science


Ebonee Butler, PhD, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology

Project Title: “An interdisciplinary approach to improve instruments of pre-diagnostic health care in a racially diverse North Carolina population”


Lorinda Coombs, PhD, Assistant Professor, Nursing

Project Title: Values assessment tailored for women with metastatic breast cancer and their caregivers:  Adaptation and Pilot Study of a Values Assessment Tool (VAST)


Katherine Reeder-Hayes, MD, MSc, MBA, Associate Professor, Medicine

Project Title: Using Patient-Reported Data to Address