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Developmental Research Program

The Program

Purpose: To provide seed money to investigators to support studies with a strong translational component that have the potential to evolve into, or be incorporated into, a full Yale SPORE in Lung Cancer project. Projects of more limited scope (e.g., for smaller amounts and/or for shorter periods of time) will be at no competitive disadvantage in the review process. Projects with multi-disciplinary collaborations and promising translational research potential will get favorable scores in review. The purpose is also to generate preliminary data or evidence of collaboration for new NCI grant applications.

Award Amounts: Up to $50,000

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

a) established investigators in lung cancer who wish to test an innovative, translationally-relevant idea not funded by current or pending grants/funds;

b) junior investigators holding a faculty appointment proposing innovative research in the arena of translational thoracic oncology that require preliminary data to apply for an R01 or equivalent research support;

c) independent investigators with a previous and/or current R01 or equivalent funding whose research to date has not been specifically directed at lung cancer, or even at cancer more generally, but who are interested in exploring the applicability of their particular expertise to lung cancer.

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 Developmental Research Awardees

2023 Developmental Research Awardees
  • Three-dimensional genome reorganization drives adaptive resistance to EGFR inhibition in lung cancer (Mandar Muzumdar / Siyuan Wang)
  • A novel epigenetic mechanism in lung cancer resistance (Andrew Xiao)
  • The application of first-in-class PIP4K2A/2B inhibitors in the treatment of lung adenocarcinoma (Ya Ha)
  • Exploring changes in cancer-related biomarkers among adults receiving combined treatment for dual use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes (Lisa Fucito)
  • Understanding and targeting altered RNA splicing in treatment-resistant lung tumors (Luisa Escobar-Hoyos)
2022 Developmental Research Awardees
  • Implementation of deep learning derived imaging based biomarkers for Non-Small Lung Cancer (Sanjay Aneja)
  • Characterization of limited-stage small cell lung cancer: potential prognostic and therapeutic implications (Guoping Cai)
  • Investigating the role of lncRNAs in modulating immune responses in lung adenocarcinoma (Nadya Dimitrova)
  • Understanding and targeting altered RNA splicing in treatment-resistant lung tumors (Luisa Escobar-Hoyos)
  • Development of liquid biopsy for the diagnosis of radiation necrosis in lung cancer patients through single-cell analysis of brain lesions (Stephanie Robert, Veronica Chiang)
2021 Developmental Research Awardees
  • Exploring defects in MHC I antigen presentation in SCLC with acquired resistance to immunotherapy. (Anne Chiang, Katerina Politi)
  • Development of liquid biopsy for the diagnosis of radiation necrosis in lung cancer patients through single-cell analysis of brain lesions. (Veronica Chiang, Don Nguyen, Stephanie Robert)
  • Deriving Imaging Based Biomarkers for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer using Deep Learning (Sanjay Aneja)

2020 Developmental Research Awardees
  • Combined AURKA and WEE1 targeting inhibits a druggable effector pathway in KRAS mutant lung carcinoma (Barbara Burtness)
  • Exploring defects in MHC I antigen presentation in SCLC with acquired resistance to immunotherapy (Anne Chiang, Katerina Politi)
  • Investigating T and B cell responses against lung cancer in genetically-engineered animal models (Nikhil Joshi, Joseph Craft)
  • Target validation and proof-of-concept for MERTK inhibition in preclinical models of lung cancer (Carla Rothlin, Sourav Ghosh)
  • Probing the Role of the Supermutator, APOBEC3B, in Lung Cancer (Jeff Townsend, Karen Anderson)
2019 Developmental Research Awardees
2018 Developmental Research Awardees
  • Advanced Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Detection of Subclinical and Clinical Cardio-Toxicity Associated with Inhibition of the Programmed Cell Death Protein-1 Pathway in the Treatment of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (Lauren Baldassarre, MD)
  • Immune composition and genomic landscape of non-small cell lung cancer from HIV-infected subjects (Brinda Emu, MD)
  • Profiling functional antibody responses to checkpoint immunotherapy in lung cancer (Aaron Ring, MD, PhD)
  • Development of TLK2 kinase inhibitors to treat KRAS-driven lung cancer (David Calderwood, PhD)
  • A novel epigenetic mechanism in lung cancer resistance (Andrew Xiao, PhD)
2017 Developmental Research Awardees
  • Synthesis of novel OST inhibitors for the treatment of NSCLC (Joseph Contessa)
  • Cas9 screen for identification of novel lung cancer co-therapies (Richard A. Flavell)
  • Development of novel treatments for immunotherapy refractory lung cancer (J. Peter Koo)
2016 Developmental Research Awardees
  • Targeted degradation of tyrosine kinase inhibitor resistant epidermal growth factor receptor mutants in lung cancer (Craig Crews)
  • Herpes viruses in lung cancer (Charles Dela Cruz)
  • Genetic factors contributing to lung cancer in the pediatric population (Xiaomei Ma, Andrew DeWan)
  • Uncovering mechanisms of osimertinib resistance in metastasis from lung adenocarcinoma (Don Nguyen)

2016 Lung SPORE/ Beatrice Kleinberg Neuwirth Fund for Pancreatic and Lung Cancer Research Awardees

  • Enumeration and Characterization of Neoantigen-specific T cells in NSCLC patients undergoing immunotherapy (Susan Kaech, Paula Kavathas)
  • Probing epigenetic vulnerability of KRAS-mutant lung cancers using functional genomics (Narendra Wajapeyee)
2015 Developmental Research Awardees
  • Effective TCR for CAR-T treatment of lung cancer (Richard Flavell)
  • Identification of neoantigens for identifying and tracking tumor specific T cells (Susan Kaech, Paula Kavathas)
  • The extracellular matrix as a companion therapeutic target in metastatic lung cancer (Don Nguyen)
  • Non-invasive monitoring of mutations in lung cancer via circulating tumor DNA (Abhijit Patel)


  • Professor of Pharmacology and of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry; Co-Leader, Developmental Therapeutics, Yale Cancer Center; Co-Director Therapeutics/Chemotherapy Program

    Research Interests
    • Molecular Biology
    • Pharmacology
    • Anti-Retroviral Agents
    • HIV Reverse Transcriptase
    • Multifunctional Enzymes
  • Ensign Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) and Professor of Pharmacology; Deputy Director, Yale Cancer Center; Chief of Medical Oncology, Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital; Assistant Dean for Translational Research, Yale School of Medicine; Director, Center for Thoracic Cancers, Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital; Program Director, Master of Health Science - Clinical Investigation Track (MHS-CI)

    Research Interests
    • Lung Neoplasms
    • Medical Oncology
    • Thoracic Neoplasms
    • Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic
    • Biomarkers, Pharmacological
    • Precision Medicine