Skip to Main Content

Career Enhancement Program

The Program

The goal of the Career Enhancement Program of the Yale SPORE in Lung Cancer is to educate the next generation of investigators committed to translational research in lung cancer. The Career Enhancement Program will provide support of up to $50,000 to promising junior investigators and/or establish investigators who have not previously conducted lung cancer focused research. Proposed pilot projects should be innovative and be focused on a broad spectrum of research, and/or technology development applicable to human lung cancer risk, prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment.

Award Amounts: Up to $50,000 for one year.

Purpose: To provide support to foster the development of the next generation of lung cancer translational researchers. The aims of the Career Enhancement Program are to support promising early career stage lung cancer investigators and to enhance the careers of established investigators who have newly defined interests in pursing translational research in lung cancer. The purpose is also to generate preliminary data or evidence of collaboration for new NCI grant applications.

Eligibility: Open to investigators at an academic institution who can be described by one of the following categories:

  1. Junior faculty holding appointments
  2. Candidates for junior faculty appointments, (e.g., advanced postdoctoral fellows)
  3. Established investigators, who are committed to re-focusing a substantial component of her/his research on thoracic oncology and the study of risk prevention, diagnosis, prognosis or treatment of human thoracic malignancies

Women and minority investigators are strongly encouraged to apply.

Requirements: If a grant is awarded, the P.I. and mentors must agree to abide by the attached Grant Guidelines (page 4) and to participate in the DRP/CEP Symposium to be held at Yale in May 2025 (tentative date).


  • Letter of Intent: April 19, 2024
  • Full application: June 21, 2024

Letters of Intent and applications should be submitted at

Download applications here

Previous Career Enhancement Awardees

2023 Career Enhancement Awardees
2022 Career Enhancement Awardees
  • Arnaud Augert: Understanding and targeting PBRM1 mutant small cell lung cancers (Mentors: Katerina Politi, Anne Chiang)
  • Thomas Hayman: PLK4 Inhibition as a Strategy to Enhance the Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Radiation Response (Mentors: Joseph Contessa, Megan King)
  • Bluma Lesch: Heritable epigenetic sensitization to KRAS-induced lung cancer (Mentors: Katerina Politi, Andrew Xiao)
  • Gavitt Woodard: Subtypes of CD8+ T-cells in lymph nodes and blood outside the primary tumor in NSCLC patients (Mentor: Lieping Chen)
2021 Career Enhancement Awardees
  • Luisa Escobar-Hoyos: RNA splicing as a novel therapeutic target in lung cancers with mutant p53 (Mentors: Katerina Politi, Sarah Goldberg)
  • Thomas Hayman: PLK4 Inhibition as a Strategy to Enhance the Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Radiation Response (Mentors: Joseph Contessa, Megan King)
  • Yansheng Liu: Phosphoproteomic analysis of TKI drug response and resistance in lung cancer (Mentors: Don Nguyen, Katerina Politi)
  • Rachel Perry: Precision Medicine Immunometabolic Approaches to Lung Cancer (Mentors: Katerina Politi, Nikhil Joshi)
2020 Career Enhancement Program Awardee
  • Sanjay Aneja: Deriving Imaging Based Biomarkers for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer using Deep Learning (Mentors: Harlan Krumholz, Roy Herbst)
  • Luisa Escobar-Hoyos: RNA splicing as a novel therapeutic target in lung cancers with mutant p53 (Mentors: Katerina Politi, Sarah Goldberg)
  • Rachel Perry: Defining the Mechanism by which Obesity May Protect Against Lung Cancer (Mentors: Katerina Politi, Nikhil Joshi)
2019 Career Enhancement Awardees
2018 Career Enhancement Awardees
2017 Career Enhancement Awardees
  • Making first strides towards elucidating the importance of long noncoding RNAs in lung cancer (Nadya Dimitrova, Mentor: Katerina Politi)
  • The role of the pentose phosphate pathway in resistance to lung cancer therapy (Joelle Hillion, Mentor: Richard Kibbey)
  • Investigating mechanisms of anti-tumor T cell function in autochithonous models of lung adenocarcinoma (Nikhil Joshi, Mentor: Lieping Chen)
  • TCR sequences pre and post IO therapy (Yu Zhang, Mentor: Lieping Chen)
2016 Career Enhancement Awardees
  • Uncovering the functional roles of microRNAs in lung cancer metastasis (Sidi Chen, Mentors: Andre Levchenko, Roy Herbst)
  • End-of-Life Care in the Veteran’s Health Administration vs. Fee-for-Service Medicare among Patients with Advanced Lung Cancer (Carolyn Presley, Mentors: Cary Gross, Michal Rose)
  • Overcome resistance to EGFR inhibitors with microRNA-based therapy in lung cancer (Wencai Zhang, Mentors: Frank Slack, Daniel Costa)
  • “Immune shifting” as a potential mechanism of acquired resistance during anti-Programed Death (PD) therapy (Yu Zhang, Mentor: Lieping Chen)
2015 Career Enhancement Awardees
  • High-throughput screening for K-ras mutant tumor cell radiosensitizers (Ranjit Bindra, Mentors: Peter Glazer, Roy Decker)
  • Analysis of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes using quantitative methods in lung cancer: biological role and predictive value (Kurt Schalper, Mentors: David Rimm, Roy Herbst)
  • Role of lung microbiota in lung cancer development (Piotr Bielecki, Mentors: Richard Flavell, Lieping Chen)
  • Identifying non-small cell lung cancer associated circRNAs for therapeutic intervention (Brian Adams, Mentors: Frank Slack, Pier Paolo Pandolfi)


  • Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Medicine (Oncology) and of Dermatology; Director, Yale SPORE in Skin Cancer, Yale Cancer Center; Vice Chair for Collaborative Research, Internal Medicine; Chief, Division of Skin and Kidney Cancer; Associate Cancer Center Director, Education, Training and Faculty Development; Deputy Section Chief, Medical Oncology

    Research Interests
    • Medical Oncology
    • Melanoma
  • Amy and Joseph Perella Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology); Chief, Experimental Therapeutics; Associate Cancer Center Director, Experimental Therapeutics

    Research Interests
    • Clinical Trial, Phase I
    • Regenerative Medicine