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Five UTHSC Cancer Researchers Awarded Intramural Grants by West Cancer Center

Five UTHSC cancer researchers have been awarded intramural grants by the West Cancer Center. (Pictured left to right: Dr.Junming Yue, Dr.Lawrence M. Pfeffer, Dr.Enrique Izaguirre, Dr.Matthew Ballo, and Dr. Gustavo Miranda-Carboni). Photos provided by: West Cancer Center.


West Cancer Center has awarded four $50,000 intramural grants to cancer researchers at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). The grants were among almost 20 proposals received by West Cancer Center for its annual grant awarding process.

This year’s recipients and projects include:

  • Matthew Ballo, MD, FACR and Enrique Izaguirre, PhD, DABR, Department of Radiation Oncology, UTHSC – Awarded for their project titled “Novel 3D Printed Applicators for Advance Skin Cancer Brachytherapy.”
  • Gustavo A. Miranda-Carboni, PhD, Division of Hematology/Oncology, UTHSC – Awarded for his research in the study of “Monoterpene Natural Products Against TNBC.”
  • Lawrence M. Pfeffer, PhD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UTHSC – Awarded for his research proposal titled “The Role of APELA in Glioblastoma.”
  • Junming Yue, PhD, Department of Pathology, UTHSC – Awarded for his research testing MTF1 as a new drug target in treating ovarian cancer.

“At West Cancer Center, it is of paramount importance that we provide the necessary funding to support impactful cancer research, right here in Memphis,” said Ari VanderWalde, MD, director of Clinical Research at West Cancer Center and associate vice chancellor of Research, Clinical Trials, at UTHSC. “This year’s awarded projects demonstrate a commitment to translating basic, scientific research into innovative patient care in the clinical setting. These projects – and researchers – are but a few examples of the drive for innovation that exists in our medical community, particularly in the field of oncology.”

West Cancer Center explores these funding opportunities that dually serve the needs of the Mid-South community and the research initiatives of the cancer center partnership. The Executive Council of West Cancer Center – comprised of leaders from the partnership institutions – reviewed the applications and selected this year’s recipients.

According to Lee S. Schwartzberg, MD, FACP, executive director of West Cancer Center and chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at UTHSC, this year’s recipients embody not only the collaboration among the Mid-South’s leaders in cancer care and research, but also the critical role of the “physician scientist” in the current oncology landscape. “This year’s recipients represent the unique dichotomy of balancing laboratory science with clinical care; recognizing that the two are intimately connected and critical to advancing our understanding of this disease,” said Schwartzberg. “And while the projects focus on various cancer types and methodology, what they share in common is a commitment to improving patient outcomes. At West Cancer Center, that is what we are all about.”