Jun 03, 2022 2:00 PM

Read Time: 4 minutes


5 For The Fight logo

Recipients were chosen in part for their pledge to focus on research designed to advance cancer prevention and survival in minority populations, improve treatments.

5 For The Fight, a nonprofit started by Qualtrics and fueled by thousands of private donors, announced today that seven new cancer researchers will get a boost for their work thanks to $1.1 million in grants.

The five women and two men, who are part of the multi-year 5 For The Fight Cancer Research Fellows program, were vetted and chosen in part for their pledge to focus on research designed to:

  • Advance cancer prevention and survival in minority populations
  • Create more effective treatment approaches for gynecological cancer
  • Find new methods of imaging for pediatric cancers
  • Better understand cellular changes that can lead to cancer and other diseases
  • Advance development of new clinical trials & treatments for leukemia
  • Understand how and why certain tumors resist treatments
  • Engineer strategies to safely amplify the body’s immune response to cancer

“What these cancer researchers have in common is grit and innovation,” said Mike Maughan, 5 For The Fight Co-Founder. “Their important work – along with the work of other fellows in the program – bring us one step closer to our goal to eradicate cancer. We are excited to fuel their progress and help give them a real chance to advance the field and help mentor those that come after them.”

This is the third class of 5 For The Fight Cancer Research Fellows, which now totals over 30 researchers. Each researcher receives funding for three years and provides updates on findings annually. 5 For The Fight also has 15 cancer centers through other grants. Past 5 For The Fight Fellows have reported progress on research in colon cancer screenings for Black and Indigenous men, the study of how and why melanomas form, and the role of B cells in solid tumors, among other achievements. To date, 5 For The Fight has raised nearly $30 million to help eradicate cancer with 100% of those funds donated directly to the world’s leading cancer researchers.

All seven of the new fellowship recipients are located at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. These fellows were evaluated and selected by a committee of Huntsman Cancer Institute senior leaders: Don Ayer, PhD Senior Director of Cancer Training and Career Enhancement, Brad Cairns, PhD Chief Academic Officer, Alana Welm, PhD Senior Director of Basic Science, Tracy Onega, PhD Senior Director of Population Sciences, Martin McMahon, PhD Senior Director Preclinical Translation, and Sachin Apte, MD MBA Chief Clinical Officer of Huntsman Cancer Institute and Physician-in-Chief of Huntsman Cancer Hospital.

For information on how to donate to support future fellows as well as other cancer researchers, please visit www.5forthefight.org

2022-2025
5 For The Fight Cancer Research Fellows


Robert L. Dood, MD, MSCE
Robert L. Dood, MD, MSCE

Robert L. Dood, MD, MSCE is fighting to improve survival rates in people with gynecologic cancers. Dood is a surgeon-scientist specializing in gynecologic cancer at Huntsman Cancer Institute and an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah. Dood will pursue research to better understand specific tumor traits, and use these findings to advance insights into more effective treatment approaches. Dood completed his medical degree and a master of epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by fellowship training in gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.


Shreya Goel, PhD
Shreya Goel, PhD

Shreya Goel, PhD is fighting to improve imaging in pediatric cancer patients. Imaging is a tool used by doctors to assess whether a patient is responding to treatment. Goel is a pediatric cancer researcher at Huntsman Cancer Institute and an assistant professor of pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Utah. Goel will advance study of new methods of imaging for pediatric cancers. She completed her PhD in materials science at the University of Wisconsin, followed by postdoctoral training in nanomedicine and cancer systems imaging at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.


Crystal Lumpkins, PhD, MA
Crystal Lumpkins, PhD, MA
Crystal Lumpkins, PhD, MA is fighting to prevent cancers and improve outcomes in African American and Black immigrant populations through genetic testing and more effective communication. A cancer population scientist at Huntsman Cancer Institute and associate professor of communication at the University of Utah, Lumpkins will test new tools to improve communication about reducing cancer risk in minority populations. Lumpkins received her doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia and holds masters degrees in media communications and management from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Matt Miller, PhD 
Matt Miller, PhD 
Matt Miller, PhD is fighting to understand the underlying cellular changes that can lead to cancer and other diseases. A cancer biochemist at Huntsman Cancer Institute and assistant professor of biochemistry at the University of Utah, Miller is working to answer fundamental questions about how microscopic changes in chromosomes can lead to defects that precipitate the development of diseases like cancer, and to use these insights to inform more effective strategies for prevention and treatment. Miller received his PhD in cell biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by postdoctoral training in biochemistry and biophysics at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Ami Patel, MD
Ami Patel, MD
Ami Patel, MD is fighting to develop better treatments that will improve outcomes for people with blood cancers. She is a physician-scientist at Huntsman Cancer Institute and an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Utah. Patel cares for patients with leukemia and will use the fellowship award to advance development of new clinical trials to assess treatments that will target leukemia cells. She completed medical training and an internal medicine residency at Northwestern University, followed by fellowship training in hematology-oncology at the Salt Lake Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Utah.
Melissa Reeves, PhD
Melissa Reeves, PhD
Melissa Reeves, PhD is fighting to understand how certain tumor characteristics resist treatments. Reeves oversees a cancer research laboratory at Huntsman Cancer Institute and is an assistant professor of pathology at the University of Utah. Reeves studies a tumor trait called heterogeneity. Heterogeneous tumors respond poorly to immunotherapy, and are common across many tumor types, including melanoma, lung cancer, bladder cancer, and kidney cancer. Yet they are resistant to all available treatments. Reeves plans to understand the barriers the immune system encounters fighting heterogeneous tumors and develop treatment strategies that will improve outcomes for patients. She completed her PhD in biomedical sciences from University of California San Francisco.
Arabella Young, PhD
Arabella Young, PhD
Arabella Young, PhD, is a cancer immunologist at Huntsman Cancer Institute and assistant professor of pathology at the University of Utah. She is fighting to understand how to safely deliver immunotherapy treatments for certain types of cancer. Almost all cancers can benefit from immunotherapy treatment - meaning treatments that harness a patient’s own immune system to fight their tumor. Yet some internal systems in the patient’s immune system can create resistance to treatments. Young aims to engineer strategies that safely amplify the immune response to cancer. She completed a PhD in immunology from the University of Queensland, and postdoctoral training in tumor immunology and autoimmunity from University of California San Francisco.

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Heather Simonsen
Public Relations – Huntsman Cancer Institute
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About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah is the official cancer center of Utah and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West. The campus includes a state-of-the-art cancer specialty hospital and two buildings dedicated to cancer research. Huntsman Cancer Institute provides patient care, cancer screening, and education at community clinics and affiliate hospitals throughout the Mountain West. It is consistently recognized among the best cancer hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report. The region’s first proton therapy center opened in 2021 and a major hospital expansion is underway. Huntsman Cancer Institute is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for staff, students, patients, and communities. Advancing cancer research discoveries and treatments to meet the needs of patients who live far away from a major medical center is a unique focus. More genes for inherited cancers have been discovered at Huntsman Cancer Institute than at any other cancer center, including genes responsible for breast, ovarian, colon, head and neck cancers, and melanoma. Huntsman Cancer Institute was founded by Jon M. and Karen Huntsman.

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