While the Mass General Cancer Center prides itself on presenting significant training opportunities for the approximately 75 junior investigators we have in any given year, the only source of funding for junior investigators’ pilot research projects is Massachusetts General Hospital's (MGH) Institutional Research Grant (IRG) from the American Cancer Society (ACS). This award supports MGH junior faculty to pursue cancer research. Cancer-related research is interpreted using the broadest definition, and includes, laboratory, clinical, prevention, health services, or population based projects.

Over the past nine years, ACS IRG seed funding has allowed MGH junior investigators to collect pilot data that enables them to successfully compete for national competitive research grants from the NIH, NCI and others. Since 2012, the IRG has fostered innovate research and supported 49 junior faculty pilot studies at MGH. This work has already resulted in hundreds of peer-reviewed publications crediting ACS and dozens of externally funded grants for these researchers to continue their line of inquiry.

The IRG application process is administered internally through MGH every year. Future Calls for Proposals will be distributed by email and posted here on the Cancer Center website.

Applicant Guidelines:

ACS IRG pilot grants are reserved for those applicants who are junior faculty members (Instructors and Assistant Professor faculty appointment with 6 years) establishing independent cancer research programs.

  • Applicants cannot have received prior, or hold current, major funding from a national peer-reviewed source (NIH, NSF, ACS, AHA, DOD, etc.). K award funding is acceptable.
  • Eligible MGH investigators must be within 6 years of initial faculty appointment (e.g. Instructor).
  • Applicants must be citizens or noncitizen nationals of the United States or its possessions and territories, or must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence at the time of application.
  • Applicant’s department, disease center or research group leader must agree to commit $10,000 of departmental funds toward the award if funded.

Project Guidelines:

  • Priority will be given to applications which demonstrate promise to lead to further funding.
  • Applications for novel clinical projects and for community-based projects are particularly encouraged in addition to basic science projects.
  • Cancer-related research will be interpreted using the broadest definition.
  • Special Interests awards are available for faculty members with an interest in the psychosocial, policy, prevention, cancer control, disparities and behavioral aspects of cancer and are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Project budgets are allocated up to $30,000 (direct costs) for one year. ACS IRG funds can be used to support project-related expenses only. Funds cannot be used for PI salary support.

Awardee Expectations:

  • Local involvement with ACS in the form of events and lectures.
  • Present at an MGH IRG Awardee conference.
  • Provide annual updates on career progress.

ACS IRG Award Recipients

Download and view MGH ACS IRG Grantees 2012-2021 (pdf).

2021

Adjoa Anyane-Yeboa, MD, MPH
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Improving Community Access to Colonoscopy for Colorectal Cancer Screening – A Pilot Program

Liron Bar-Peled, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Chemical Proteomic Identification of Druggable Transcriptional Drivers in HR+ Breast Cancers

Tejaswini More Dhawale, MD
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Communication about Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) Therapy: Patients’ and Caregivers’ Understanding of Their Treatment Risks and Benefits

Joseph Wang Franses, MD, PhD
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Spatial transcriptional profiling of hepatocellular carcinoma tissue to define intratumor and intertumor heterogeneity

William L. Hwang, MD, PhD
Instructor of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School
Cell state plasticity in pancreatic cancer tumorigenesis and therapeutic resistance elucidated by concurrent single-nucleus chromatin accessibility and gene expression

2020

Raj K. Gopal, MD, PhD
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Leveraging Genetic Insights to Detect and Target Hürthle cell carcinoma Vulnerabilities

Daniel L. Hall, PhD
Instructor / Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Adapted Telehealth Intervention for Insomnia among Cancer Survivors

Andrew S. Liss, PhD
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Collagen XVII signaling in Pancreatic Cancer

Erica S. Shenoy, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Screening for Asymptomatic Clostridioides difficile Colonization Among Hematology/Oncology Patients at Time of Hospital Admission

Eric Wehrenberg-Klee, MD
Instructor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
Evaluation of Adjunctive Cryoablation to Increase Pembrolizumab Response in Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma

2019

Christine Chiasson-Mackenzie, PhD
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Macropinocytosis in human cancer

Zachariah DeFilipp, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Fecal microbiota transplantation capsules for steroid-refractory acute gastrointestinal graft-versus-host disease

Deborah A. Forst, MD
Instructor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Patient-Clinician Communication in Patients with Malignant Glioma

Rachel B. Jimenez, MD
Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School
Proton versus Conventional Radiation and Cardiac Structure and Function among Women with Breast Cancer

2018

Ibiayi Dagogo-Jack, MD
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Characterizing and Overcoming Alectinib Resistance in ALK + Lung Cancer

Anna Farago, MD, PhD
Instructor / Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Small cell lung cancer tissue microarrays for biomarker analysis

Efren Flores, MD
Instructor / Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
Reducing Disparities in Lung Cancer Screening for Individuals with Severe Medical Illness

Laura Petrillo, MD
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Patient-Oncologist Communication and Decision Making Among Patients with Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Targetable Mutations

Jacob Soumerai, MD
Clinical Instructor / Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Eradicating Minimal Residual Disease in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

2017

Genevieve Boland, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Exosomal RNA as a tool for predicting and monitoring response to a PD1 therapy in melanoma

Lipika Goyal, MD, MPhil
Instructor / Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Identifying therapeutic strategies for FGFR inhibition in Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma

Ryan Nipp, MD
Instructor / Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Identifying the components of informed treatment decision-making in patients with pancreatic cancer receiving preoperative therapy

Aparna Parikh, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Circulating tumor DNA to predict tumor recurrence in colorectal and pancreatic cancer patients undergoing resection with curative intent

Zofia Piotrowska, MD, MHS
Instructor / Assistant of Professor Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Overcoming heterogeneity and resistance in EGFR-mutant NSCLC

2016

Shadmehr Demehri MD, PhD
Assistant Professor / Associate Professor of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School
Mechanism of TSLP-induced Anti-tumor Immunity against Breast Cancer

Giselle Perez, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Promoting Stress Management and Resilience Among Lymphoma Survivors Transitioning off Treatment

Mario Suva, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor / Associate Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
Redefining human low-grade gliomas at single-cell resolution

Lara Traeger, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Identifying critical elements of real-time discussions between providers, patients and families at the end of life

Shannon Stott, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Engineering tools to elucidate the biogenesis and molecular content of exosomes

2015

Areej El-Jawahri, MD
Instructor / Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Psychological Distress, Symptom burden, Quality of Life, and Coping in Patients with Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease

Kelly E. Irwin, MD
Instructor / Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Early Psychiatry Consultation for Individuals with Severe Mental Illness and Cancer

David B. Sykes, MD, PhD
Instructor / Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Targeting the pathway of de novo uridine biosynthesis as differentiation therapy in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia

Cesar M. Castro, MD, MSc
Instructor / Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Illuminating the Shadows of Cervical Disease using a Mobile Platform

Gabriela Hobbs, MD
Instructor / Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Pre-clinical Assessment of PD-1 as a Target in Myeloproliferative Neoplasms

2014

Amir Fathi, MD
Assistant Professor / Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Assessing Minimal Residual Disease as a Predictor

Kasper Lage Hansen, MSc, PhD
Assistant Professor / Associate Professor of Medicine, Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Protein Network Rewiring Due to Somatic Driver

Inga Lennes, MD, MPH, MBA
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Personalized Patient Feedback Communication

Abner Louissaint, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor (Instructor at time of award) of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
Molecular Genetic Characterization of Pediatric-Type Follicular Lymphoma

Amity Manning, MD
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Manipulation of chromatin structure as a therapeutic approach to target CIN

2013

Catherine Lubitz, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Optimization of treatment of papillary thyroid cancer: a risk- tailored approach

Jorg Dietrich, MBA, MD, PhD, MMSc
Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Identification strategies to enhance endogenous nervous system repair following cancer therapy

Jennifer Wo, MD
Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School
Determination of prognostic significance of Bcl-2 and HPV 16, and mutational analysis following concurrent definitive chemoradiation for squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal

Min Yu, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor (Instructor at time of award), Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine; Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center of USC, University of Southern California
Characterizing the role of TAK1 in circulating tumor cells and metastasis

Jennifer Shin, MD
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Pilot study of a hospice video decision aid in patients with metastatic breast cancer

2012

Woo Jae Kim, PhD, MS
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Functional characterization of Wilms tumor suppressor WTX

Ryan Corcoran, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Identification of novel targeted therapy combination strategies for KRAS mutant cancers

Andrew Chi MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Validating IDH1 mutation as a therapeutic target in glioblastoma

Travis Baggett, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor (Instructor at time of award) of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Cancer incidence, prevalence, and mortality among homeless adults in Boston

Carlos G. Fernandez-Robles, MD
Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Prevention of Delirium After Bone Marrow Transplantation