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Application deadline is Sunday, May 5, 2024 by 5 p.m. EST

The UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center is accepting applications for the Marci K. Campbell and Michael S. O’Malley Dissertation Awards, two competitive awards each endowing $3,000 to recognize excellence in dissertation research focused on cancer and the population sciences. This cash award goes directly to the recipient and can be used for any purpose.

Note: As of 2024, the Michael S. O’Malley Award has transitioned to a dissertation award.


Graduate students in any of the population disciplines (epidemiology, nutrition, behavioral sciences, health services and outcomes research, psychology, etc.) are encouraged to apply.

Candidates who have graduated with their doctorate in the 2023-2024 academic year OR plan to graduate in the 2024-2025 academic year are eligible to apply (i.e., graduation with doctorate that occurs at any time between June 1, 2023-May 31, 2025).

The faculty sponsor must be a Cancer Center member. An early July award date is anticipated.

About Marci Campbell

Headshot of Marci Campbell.
Marci Kramish Campbell, PhD.

Marci Campbell, PhD, was a leader in cancer prevention and control, disparities, and survivorship research at UNC-Chapel Hill and across the nation.

Marci died much too soon from colon cancer in December 2011. She was an exceptional mentor and believed producing the next generation of researchers was one of our most important aims.

Visit the Marci Campbell memorial page to learn more.

About Michael O’Malley

Headshot of Michael O'Malley.
Michael O’Malley, PhD.

Michael O’Malley, PhD was a trailblazer in cancer prevention and control at UNC-Chapel Hill and across the nation.

O’Malley served as the associate director of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center for more than 20 years. He also served as an adjunct associate professor of health policy and management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health where he was a mentor for countless students over the years. O’Malley’s kindness and infectious smile spread warmth throughout the entire cancer center. An exceptional leader, many knew him as a great “connector,” and he was beloved by everyone he connected with at Carolina.

Visit the Michael O’Malley memorial page to learn more.


Please send the following application items as a single PDF file:

  • Application package checklist (download using the Application Cover Letter link below)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Abstract of the dissertation: a succinct description of the proposed work understandable to a scientific audience (30 lines or less).
  • Specific Aims: A one-page explanation of the research that demonstrates the research problem and suggested solution, project milestones, hypothesis, and the approach. The Specific Aims should be understandable to a broad audience. For more information and examples, please see NIH guidance on Specific Aims.
  • Two letters of support:
    • One letter of support from the Center member faculty sponsor.
    • One letter of support from the chair of the student’s dissertation committee, which should state that the student will defend his/her thesis in the appropriate time frame. Note: If the dissertation chair is also the Center sponsor, please include another academic reference for a total of two letters of support.

Selection will be based on academic record, quality of the research, and supporting letters. The application deadline is Sunday, May 5, 2024 by 5 p.m. EST.

Please direct questions to Hannah Prentice-Dunn,, Project Manager for Cancer Prevention and Control at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Note: Reviewers will be faculty members of the Cancer Prevention and Control program and work in a variety of disciplines.

Previous Awardees

Campbell Award
2022: Emilie Duchesneau, MSPH, and Wendi Elkins, PhD
2021: Alina Hamilton, MS
2020: Meghan O’Leary, MA
: Jessica Islam, MPH
2018: Jennifer Spencer, MSPH
2017: Alyssa Cozzo, PhD
2016: Lynn Hinton, MSPH, PhD, and Humberto Parada, MPH, PhD
2015: Marissa Hall, MSPH, PhD, and Yunro Chung, MS, PhD
2014: Leanne Kaye, MPH, PhD
2013: Shellie Ellis, MA, PhD, and Shelley Golden, PhD
2012: Carmina G. Valle, MPH, PhD

O'Malley Award

2022: Jessica Islam, PhD 

Islam, J. Y., Vidot, D. C., & Camacho-Rivera, M. (2021). Evaluating mental health–related symptoms among cancer survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic: an analysis of the COVID impact survey. JCO oncology practice, 17(9), e1258-e1269.

2021: Arjun Bhattacharya, PhD, and Natalie Ernecoff, PhD

Bhattacharya, A., García-Closas, M., Olshan, A.F. et al. A framework for transcriptome-wide association studies in breast cancer in diverse study populations. Genome Biol 21, 42 (2020).

2021: Natalie C. Ernecoff, PhD

Ernecoff, N.C., Wessell, K.L., Wood, W.A. et al. How well do documented goals-of-care discussions for patients with stage IV cancer reflect communication best practices? BMC Palliative Care 20, 41 (2021).

2020: Halei Collette Benefield, DrPH, MD Candidate

Benefield HC, Allott EH, Reeder-Hayes KE, Perou CM, Carey LA, Geradts J, Sun X, Calhoun BC, Troester MA. Borderline estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers in black and white women. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2019. DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djz206

2019: Gina Ogilvie, MD, MSc, FCFP, DrPH

Gina Suzanne Ogilvie, Dirk van Niekerk, Mel Krajden, Laurie W. Smith, Darrel Cook, Lovedeep Gondara, Kathy Ceballos, David Quinlan, Marette Lee, Ruth Elwood Martin, Laura Gentile, Stuart Peacock, Gavin C. E. Stuart, MD, Eduardo L. Franco, Andrew J. Coldman. Effect of Screening With Primary Cervical HPV Testing vs Cytology Testing on High-grade Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia at 48 Months. JAMA. 2018;320(1):43-52.

2018: Lynn Chollet-Hinton, PhD

Lynn Chollet-Hinton, Andrew F. Olshan, Hazel B. Nichols, Carey K. Anders, Jennifer L. Lund, Emma H. Allott, Traci N. Bethea, Chi-Chen Hong, Stephanie M. Cohen, Thaer Khoury, Gary R. Zirpoli, Virginia F. Borges, Lynn A. Rosenberg, Elisa V. Bandera, Christine B. Ambrosone, Julie R. Palmer, and Melissa A. Troester.  Biology and Etiology of Young-Onset Breast Cancers among Premenopausal African American Women: Results from the AMBER Consortium. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prev. 2017;26:1722-1729

2017: Angela, Stover, PhD

Stover AM, Mayer DK, Muss H, Wheeler SB, Lyons J, Reeve BB. Quality of life changes during the pre- to post-diagnosis period and treatment-related recovery time in older women with breast cancer. Cancer 2014;120:1881-1889