Sep 02, 2021

New Insights about Melanocytes Could Lead to More Targeted Melanoma Treatments

Huntsman Cancer Institute melanoma researchers have generated the first “atlas” of where human melanocytes are located in the body. In analyzing the atlas data, the team discovered different types of melanocytes, including what looks to be the cell of origin for an understudied subtype called acral melanoma, which mostly affects people of color.

Jun 02, 2021

Recipients of the 2021 Susan Cooper Jones Endowed Fellowship in Cancer Research

Huntsman Cancer Institute has announced this year’s recipients of the Susan Cooper Jones Endowed Fellowship in Cancer Research – Helen Lillie, Helong Zhao and Peng Zhang.

Apr 12, 2021

Ovarian Cancer Patients Face Increased Risk of Mental Illness

Siqi Hu, PhD, is a member of the Hashibe Lab at Huntsman Cancer Institute. Hu presented results at the 2021 virtual American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting that women diagnosed with ovarian cancer were more than three times more likely to be diagnosed with mental illness such as anxiety, depression, and adjustment disorder than the general public.

Apr 01, 2021

From Awareness to Action: A Commitment to An Anti-Racist Cancer Center

In response to a national reckoning on racism in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, HCI made a major commitment to create meaningful changes that would result in a more just, equitable, and inclusive environment. The commitment was direct: to become an anti-racist cancer center.

Apr 01, 2021

Reimagining Research in a Remote World

In March 2020, COVID-19 led to restrictions in on-site activities at HCI, at the University of Utah, across the state, and throughout the nation. HCI researchers were determined to keep labs functioning while also keeping employees safe. Learn how they overcame challenges and kept cancer research moving ahead.

Apr 01, 2021

Building on the Lifesaving Work of Cancer Research

Since its inception, HCI has made it part of our mission to educate and train the next generation of scientists and physicians to continue the lifesaving work of cancer research. In 2020, HCI had 527 trainees. Here, we highlight several of them, sharing what drives their research, why they chose HCI, and how the COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the importance of collaboration and mentored support as they begin and build upon their careers.

Mar 11, 2021

Taking a Minute to Honor Diversity in the Workplace

“Feeling valued as an individual can go a long way toward fostering a sense of belonging,” says Jaime Fornetti, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Welm Lab. To promote this sense of belonging and celebrate their different backgrounds, the Welm Lab holds a “Minute for Diversity” in team meetings, where employees can share their cultural traditions. Just taking these few moments, they say, has led to fewer assumptions and biases.

Mar 03, 2021

Utah Researchers Illuminate Potential Precursors of Blood Cancers

Utah researchers report significant new insights into the development of blood cancers. Comparing DNA data in people with and without blood disorders, the researchers discovered genetic mutations in about 2% of the presumably healthy participants that were identical to those frequently observed in the cancer patients. These findings provide new clues about mutations that may initiate cancer development and those that may help cancer progress.

Dec 03, 2020

Huntsman Cancer Institute Researchers Identify Promising Drug Combination for Melanoma

Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah have identified a potential drug combination to treat uveal melanoma, a type of eye cancer. Lead author Amanda Truong, trainee in the McMahon Lab at HCI, explains uveal melanoma patients frequently have changes in genes called GNAQ and GNA11, which are key targets for these drugs. This study was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Nov 19, 2020

Scientists Discover Roles for a Cellular Motor in Cancer

Utah scientists have discovered new functions of a key cellular machine that regulates gene packaging and is mutated in 20% of human cancers. The study was published in print today in the journal Molecular Cell. Cairns and colleagues wanted to know how nucleosomes are moved along or removed from the DNA to unpackage and expose genes.

Oct 27, 2020

Letter of Hope: Breast and Ovarian Cancer Research in the Varley Lab

You might not see us during your visit to Huntsman Cancer Institute, but we want to let you know that we are working hard in the Varley Lab in the HCI research building next door. We conduct research that improves the treatment and care of patients like you. We are a small group of dedicated young men and women who are developing new strategies to diagnose and treat breast and ovarian cancer.

Oct 23, 2020

Fighting Adrenal Cancer through Less Toxic Treatments

In high school, Katie Basham received some news that would change her life—her mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Basham headed down the only path she knew to make a difference for cancer patients, which was becoming a doctor. But she soon became intrigued by another path- developing better treatments for cancer. She transitioned her training to laboratory science, studying at the University of Utah and University of Michigan. The 5 For The Fight Fellowship is a “welcome home” present of sorts. She receives the fellowship as she returns to HCI to set up her own laboratory studying adrenal cancers.

Oct 22, 2020

Letter of Hope: Breast Cancer Research in the Welm Labs

Dear patients, please know this as you go through your breast cancer treatment journey. The dedicated technical staff, PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows in the Welm Labs continue to work hard every day (and night!) to bring new hope to people with metastatic breast cancer through innovative research, always with patients in mind.

Sep 10, 2020

Novel Discovery Challenges a Current Kidney Cancer Paradigm

Newly published research has reversed our understanding of an aspect of kidney tumor growth. Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah discovered that two key proteins have opposite roles than what was previously believed.

Aug 04, 2020

Scientists Develop New Models to Accelerate Progress in Preventing Drug Resistance in Lung and Pancreas Cancers

Scientists at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah report today the development of new models to study molecular characteristics of tumors of the lung and pancreas that are driven by mutations in a gene named NTRK1. The findings were published today in the journal Cell Reports.

Jul 29, 2020

Letter of Hope: Sarcoma Research in the KB Jones Lab

You may not see us during a visit to Huntsman Cancer Institute. But rest assured, we are working hard to learn more about sarcoma in the research building next door. We are committed to learning the most we can in order to do the best we can for every patient. Read this Letter of Hope to sarcoma patients and their loved ones, from the KB Jones Lab.

Jul 08, 2020

New Clues from Fruit Flies about the Critical Role of Sex Hormones in Stem Cell Control

In one of the first studies addressing the role of sex hormones’ impact on stem cells in the gut, scientists outline new insights showing how a steroidal sex hormone, that is structurally and functionally similar to human steroid hormones, drastically alters the way intestinal stem cells behave, ultimately affecting the overarching structure and function of this critical organ.

Jun 02, 2020

Researchers Identify a Moving Target in Small Cell Lung Tumors

About 15 percent of lung cancers are classified as small cell lung cancer. Recent studies have indicated that four major subtypes of small cell lung cancer exist, yet approaches to tailor treatment of these subtypes have not yet become standard of care. Today in the journal Cancer Cell, scientists outline new findings about the origins of these lung cancer subtypes, paving the way for a new foundation to study this disease.

Apr 29, 2020

Researchers Find New Insights Linking Cell Division to Cancer

Scientists at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah and collaborators at the University of California, San Francisco published research in the journal Nature extending our understanding of the process of cell division. They discovered the protein LEM2 has two important functions during cell division.

Mar 09, 2020

HCI Post-Doctoral Fellow Receives Award from the National Cancer Institute

Aria Vaishnavi, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah has received the first annual National Cancer Institute Pathway to Independence Award for Outstanding Early Stage Postdoctoral Researchers. The “Early K99” grant supports researchers who need only a short period of training and mentorship after their doctoral degrees and before they’re hired into a faculty position.

Mar 04, 2020

Paving the Way for Indigenous Scholars

The PathMaker Program definitely had a significant impact on my career path. It was what opened the door to the research world and provided me with the support I needed even after completing the program. I learned that even though my internship ended, the relationships and contacts I gained in the program did not. PathMaker has helped me in every step of my career, and I will be forever grateful.

Mar 01, 2020

Colegial y colaborativo

Parte de nuestra misión en Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI por sus siglas en inglés) es transmitir conocimiento a la prometedora próxima generación. Los programas de capacitación se pueden encontrar en todo HCI en atención clínica e investigación, y en todos los grupos de edad, desde la escuela secundaria hasta los estudiantes posdoctorales. HCI capacita a futuros líderes en disciplinas relacionadas al cáncer, algunos de los cuales se presentan aquí.

Mar 01, 2020

Mensaje de Kolawole Okuyemi

Una de las cosas más gratificantes de estar en la medicina académica es la cultura de la tutoría y el entrenamiento que conlleva. Cuando estaba empezando mi carrera, tuve el beneficio de los asesores de la facultad que me ayudaron a asegurarme de que tenía el mejor entrenamiento para permitirme tener éxito. Y ahora, tengo el privilegio de asesorar a los profesores novatos que comienzan sus propias carreras.

Mar 01, 2020

Collegial and Collaborative

Part of our mission at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) is to pass on knowledge to the promising next generation. Training programs can be found across HCI in clinical care and research, and across age groups—from high school to postdoctoral students. HCI trains future leaders in cancer disciplines, some of whom are introduced here. 

Mar 01, 2020

Message from Kolawole Okuyemi

One of the most gratifying things about being in academic medicine is the culture of mentorship and training it engenders. When I was beginning my career, I had the benefit of faculty advisors who helped ensure I had the best training to allow me to succeed. And now, I have the privilege of mentoring junior faculty starting their own careers.

Feb 21, 2020

Chasing—and Catching—His Dreams

To say that the PathMaker Program made an impact on my life would be a huge understatement. I learned so much from my PathMaker experience, I honestly could write a book about it. Because of the skills I learned, the connections I made, and the amazing mentorship I received, the program instilled in me a drive to continue to chase my dreams.

Mar 01, 2019

Meet Our Trainees

Faculty at Huntsman Cancer Institute cultivate the scientists who will carry our lifesaving work into the future. It’s part of our mission. We offer trainee programs for researchers, public health professionals, and care providers such as physicians and advanced practice clinicians. These are some of the more than 425 students training at HCI.

Aug 10, 2018

Nurturing Future Cancer Researchers in the PathMaker Program

The PathMaker program is a stepping stone for students interested in a career in health sciences or STEM with backgrounds underrepresented in the biomedical workforce.

Mar 28, 2018

Two PathMaker Alumni Selected for Prestigious Research Program

The PathMaker Cancer Research Program is for high school and undergraduate students with backgrounds underrepresented in the biomedical workforce. Under the mentorship of an HCI scientist, PathMaker scholars conduct research and build a foundation for careers in health professions and biomedical research. 

Feb 26, 2018

Challenging Work, Real-Life Rewards: HCI Community Outreach Internships

The community outreach interns at Huntsman Cancer Institute work on the front lines of cancer prevention education. They receive training from health educators in cancer information and teaching strategies and take it out to health fairs and presentations in schools and businesses throughout Utah and the Mountain West.

Feb 15, 2018

Training the Next Generation of Cancer Researchers

Over the years, there have been many landmark discoveries in the effort to eradicate cancer. Progress can only continue with well-trained and passionate researchers and physicians. Huntsman Cancer Institute faculty work with students of all ages to cultivate the next generation of scientists who will carry on this life-saving work.

Jan 26, 2018

Early Career Researcher Receives Merit Award for Colorectal Cancer Research

Post-doctoral fellow Andreana Holowatyj, PhD, received an award for her work studying colorectal cancer in young adults from the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Nov 15, 2017

HCI Trainee Receives NCI Graduate Diversity Supplement

Kali Dale, a graduate research assistant at HCI, was selected to receive the National Cancer Institute Graduate Diversity Supplement.

Oct 06, 2017

HCI Trainee Wins NCI Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award

Gurkan Mollaoglu, a graduate student in the Oliver Lab, received an F99 NCI Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award. This prestigious grant recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who have demonstrated potential and interest in pursuing careers as independent cancer researchers.

Sep 19, 2017

Cancer Researchers in Training: Metabolism Is More Than Just Weight Loss

Your body's metabolism is different from a cancer cell's metabolism. Researchers like graduate student Zhizhou Ye are studying how cancer cells rewire their metabolism to survive and grow. Understanding these processes in depth could lead to therapies that stop cancer's growth.

Jul 11, 2017

Cancer Researchers in Training: Studying What Makes Each Cell Unique

RNA modification is an area of cell biology few people have studied, and the idea of exploring the boundaries of the known world is what first attracted graduate student Archana Yerra to a career in science.

Feb 24, 2017

HCI Researcher Receives Merit Award for Prostate Cancer Research

Huntsman Cancer Institute researcher Andrew Hahn, MD, received the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Merit Award. The award recognizes young researchers who have made a significant impact to their field of study and promotes clinical cancer research by giving recipients the chance to present their findings at conferences.